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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

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Notable court filings in entertainment law.

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Davis Wright Tremaine filed a copyright lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court on behalf of singer and actress Cher over the rights to songs in the Sonny and Cher catalog such as “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On.” The lawsuit takes aim at Mary Bono, fourth wife to the late Sonny Bono, who took over his seat in U.S. Congress upon his death in the late 1990s. The complaint challenges the defendant’s claims that Cher, who ended her marriage to Sonny Bono in the 1970s, is no longer entitled to 50% of song royalties per a settlement agreement. The case is 2:21-cv-08157, Cher v. Bono. Kasowitz Benson Torres filed a libel lawsuit in California Northern District Federal Court on behalf of digital publishing company Crazy Maple Studio. The complaint, which pursues claims against romance author Marie Force and her company HTJB Inc., alleges that Force posted false, disparaging statements online about her distribution agreement with the plaintiff. The case is 3:21-cv-08095, Crazy Maple Studio Inc. v. Force. Davis Wright Tremaine filed a copyright lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court on behalf of DISH Network. The suit targets 786 Wireless World and Rana M. Afzal for allegedly broadcasting in the United States exclusive DISH content originating from Pakistan and India. The case is 1:21-cv-05730, DISH Network L.L.C. v. 786 Wireless World Inc. Sony Pictures was slapped with a copyright lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court over its 2005 film Lords of Dogtown. The lawsuit was filed by Zhen Law Firm on behalf of graphic artist Wesley Humpston, who claims that the iconic Dogtown Skateboards imagery in the film was used without his authorization. The case is 2:21-cv-07660, Humpston v. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. O’Melveny & Myers filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in California Central District Federal Court on behalf of Marvel Characters Inc. over copyright claims. The suit targets Michele Hart-Rico and Buz Donato F. Rico III, the heirs of a Marvel comic writer, who claim they are entitled to certain rights of their late father’s contributions to Marvel’s Tales of Suspense comic. The case is 2:21-cv-07624, Marvel Characters Inc. v. Hart-Rico. BuzzFeed and reporter Jason Leopold filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice in District of Columbia Federal District Court. The lawsuit, filed by Loevy & Loevy, seeks records pertaining to the government’s sale of the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The album was forfeited in connection with the $7.4 million judgment against the former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli at his 2018 sentencing. The case is 1:21-cv-02676, Buzzfeed Inc. v. U.S. Department Of Justice. … Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit on behalf of investment management firm Gramercy Advisors against billionaire Shahid R. Kahn in New York Southern District Federal Court. The suit pursues claims against Khan — the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team and English soccer club Fulham F.C. — for breaching his investment management agreement with Gramercy, in which Khan allegedly agreed to indemnify, hold harmless and reimburse Gramercy for any litigation costs resulting from certain tax shelter strategies he put in place. The case is 1:21-cv-08302, Gramercy Advisors LLC v. Khan. … Greenberg Traurig filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court on behalf of London-based finance company XXIII Capital Ltd. The complaint alleges that the defendant failed to make payments on a loan given for television production and distribution after being notified of the default. The case is 1:21-cv-08222, XXIII Capital Limited v. Lee. … Polsinelli law firm filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas Western District Federal Court on behalf of Sightline Payments, a designer and developer of payment solutions for mobile gaming companies. The suit pursues claims against Everi Holdings Inc. and other defendants over the alleged use of software that allows patrons to store payment credentials and transfer funds. The case is 6:21-cv-01015, Sightline Payments LLC, v. Everi Holdings Inc. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Punch TV Studios Inc. and its CEO Joseph Collins in California Central District Federal Court over alleged violations of federal securities laws. The lawsuit claims that the defendants raised more than $1.2 million from nearly 700 investors through unregistered offerings of Punch TV’s common stock. The case is 2:21-cv-07787, Securities and Exchange Commission v. Punch TV Studios Inc. … Bursor & Fisher filed a data privacy class action in Michigan Eastern District Federal Court against Bookspan LLC, a book seller and operator of several subscription book clubs. The complaint accuses the defendant of disclosing consumer information to data aggregators and other third-parties in violation of Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act. The case is 1:21-cv-12285, Shye v. Bookspan LLC. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, the publisher of video games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, and other defendants in California Central District Federal Court. The complaint, which alleges sexual harassment and retaliation, arises from a nearly three-year investigation of the defendants. The case is 2:21-cv-07682, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Activision Blizzard Inc. Warner Music, singer Bruno Mars, producer Mark Ronson and other defendants were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in Oklahoma Northern District Federal Court. The suit, filed by the Zuhdi Law Firm on behalf of members of The Gap Band and other plaintiffs, alleges that the defendants’ 2014 hit “Uptown Funk” is substantially similar to the plaintiffs’ 1979 recording “I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance.” The case is 4:21-cv-00413, Wilson v. Ronson.

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