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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

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Notable court filings in entertainment law.

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DraftKings, the daily fantasy sports and sports betting site, Golden Nugget Online Gaming and its board of directors were slapped with a securities lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court. The lawsuit, brought by Brodsky & Smith on behalf of Peter Wong, arises from a proposed merger of DraftKings and Golden Nugget valued at $1.56 billion. The case is Wong v. Golden Nugget Online Gaming Inc., 1:21-cv-09331. Marvel Entertainment and Volkswagen Group of America were slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central Federal District Court. The lawsuit was brought by Doniger / Burroughs on behalf of Jennifer Korsen, an artist who created a popular mural in Los Angeles that she alleges was used in a dual commercial for Audi cars and the movie Avengers: Endgame. The case is Korsen v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., 2:21-cv-08893. Digital media companies LiveOne Inc. and Slacker Inc. were slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central Federal District Court. The suit, brought by Anderson Yeh PC on behalf of professional photographer and filmmaker Afshin Shahidi, alleges that defendants copied and displayed photographs taken by Shahidi of the musical artist Prince on streaming radio platforms without authorization or permission. Afshin Shahidi is also the father to Black-ish TV series actress Yara Shahidi. The case is Shahidi v. LiveOne Inc., 2:21-cv-08830. Williams Mullen filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in North Carolina Middle District Federal Court against the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. The suit was brought on behalf of Touchline Video, which specializes in filming youth sports events. The case is Touchline Video Inc. v. The Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association, 1:21-cv-00858. Facebook was slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit in Florida Southern District Federal Court on behalf of Sattvica S.A., owner of the “Maradona” trademark for Argentinian soccer player Diego Armando Maradona. The lawsuit, filed by Herrera Law Firm, accuses the social media giant of refusing to remove an unauthorized Instagram page that uses the Maradona mark without permission. The case is Sattvica S.A. v. Facebook Inc., 1:21-cv-23885. Irish filmmaker Mark Mahon sued Apple, Google, YouTube and Entertainment One for copyright infringement in California Northern District Federal Court. The pro se suit targets the defendants for allegedly facilitating the marketing and distribution of Mahon’s 2010 film Strength and Honor with unauthorized trailers and packaging. The case is Mahon v. Entertainment One US LP, 4:21-cv-08562. The Justice Department sued Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster in District of Columbia Federal Court to block the companies’ proposed $2.2 billion merger. The lawsuit, which also names parent companies Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and ViacomCBS, contends that the proposed combination would create a monopoly, suppressing author pay and reducing the quantity and variety of published works. Penguin is represented by O’Melveny & Myers partner Daniel M. Petrocelli. The case is U.S. v. Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, 1:21-cv-02886. Big cat advocate Carole Baskin, who was featured in the popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King, and her husband Howard Baskin sued Netflix and Royal Goode Productions in Florida Middle District Federal Court to block use of interview footage in an upcoming Tiger King sequel. The case, brought by Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, accuses Royal Goode of filming interviews with the plaintiffs under false pretenses and seeks an injunction barring Netflix from using footage of the Baskins in any manner beyond the original Tiger King series. The case is Baskin v. Royal Goode Productions LLC, 8:21-cv-02558. … Warner Music and music streaming platform Audiomack Inc. were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court over a work by the French rapper Ninho. The court case, brought by Garbarini Fitzgerald P.C. on behalf of Charming Beats LLC, accuses the defendants of distributing a Ninho recording that infringes the copyrighted instrumental track “Anything You Synthesize.” The case is Charming Beats LLC v. Audiomack Inc., 1:21-cv-08912. Live entertainment producer Feld Entertainment, the successor to Ringling Bros. circus, was sued in Virginia Eastern District Federal Court by London insurance underwriter Hiscox Dedicated Corporate Member Ltd. The suit, brought by Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders, pertains to Feld’s claims related to COVID-19 under a series of insurance policies providing event cancellation protection. Hiscox seeks a declaration that no coverage is afforded under the policies for claims exceeding $100 million due to a communicable disease exclusion and other factors. The case is Hiscox Dedicated Corporate Member Ltd. v. Feld Entertainment Inc., 1:21-cv-01200. Cinemark Holdings, the movie theater chain, was hit with a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas Western District Federal Court over its use of RosettaBridge theater management software. The lawsuit, which asserts four patents related to automated scheduling, time cuing and securing of digital films, was filed by The Mort Law Firm and Daigneault Iyer on behalf of Boulder Licensing LLC. The case is Boulder Licensing LLC v. Cinemark, Inc., 6:21-cv-01114. Sheppard Mullin filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court on behalf of video game publisher Bigben Interactive S.A. and subsidiary Cyanide S.A.S. The complaint, which centers on development of a digital version of the role playing game Paranoia: Happiness Is Mandatory, pursues claims against game designers Greg Costikyan and Eric Goldberg for alleged breach of a license agreement. The case is Bigben Interactive S.A. v. Goldberg, 1:21-cv-08698. The baseball team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians and now called the Cleveland Guardians was sued for trademark infringement in Ohio Northern District Federal Court. The complaint was filed by Hunton Andrews Kurth on behalf of the Cleveland Guardians roller derby team, which contends the name change is causing confusion and destroying its trademark rights. The case is Guardians Roller Derby v. Cleveland Guardians Baseball Company LLC, 1:21-cv-02035.

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