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The Eastern District of Michigan is host to the latest in a series of lawsuits brought all across the country involving an intellectual property dispute between a high-profile brand owner and street artists whose work is featured without compensation in an advertisement campaign by that brand owner. See, e.g., Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. Bombardier, Docket No. 2:19-cv-10951 (E.D. Mich. Mar 29, 2019); Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. Soto et al, Docket No. 2:19-cv-10949 (E.D. Mich. Mar 29, 2019); Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. Lewis, Docket No. 2:19-cv-10948 (E.D. Mich. Mar 29, 2019). On March 29, 2019, Mercedes Benz (Mercedes) brought three declaratory judgment actions against the artists Daniel Bombardier, Maxx Gramajo, James “Dabls” Lewis, and Jeff Soto. In each action, Mercedes is seeking a declaration of non-infringement, fair use, exemption under the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (AWCPA), and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for its use of the artists’ work. In turn, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and a further response on May 15, 2019.
By Alan L. Friel
Part Two of a Two-Part Article
By Scott Graham
The U.S. Supreme Court has jumped into a titanic copyright battle between Oracle Corp. and Google LLC with both barrels. The court’s involvement is sure to reignite a 50-year-old debate over how much, if any, software should be subject to copyright, and the contours of the fair use defense in the digital age.
By Phillip Bantz
Some of China’s largest companies have banded together with major brands in the United States and elsewhere to neutralize “patent trolls,” an indication that the country’s firms are becoming increasingly concerned about patent infringement litigation.
By Michael W. Mitchell and Edward Roche
The decision in Brammer v. Violent Hues sheds some light on when re-posting will be a “fair use” and when it will give rise to liability.