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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

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Notable court filings in entertainment law.

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Bracewell filed a civil RICO lawsuit in New York Southern Federal District Court on behalf of investment firm Bayshore Capital Advisors, BCA Alternative Income Fund and Rocking T Ranch. The suit targets BRON Studios USA Inc., a media and entertainment firm, and other defendants for fraudulent inducement and alleged promises of repayment for the financing of film projects valued at over $60 million. The case is Bayshore Capital Advisors LLC v. Creative Wealth Media Finance Corp., 1:22-cv-01105. Porter Wright Morris & Arthur filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in Ohio Northern Federal District Court on behalf Aragonite Capital Markets. The suit accuses entertainment company Dark Horse Media and its holding company Cenic Media Inc. of failing to pay Aragonite as financial advisor, in accordance with an executed engagement letter agreement. Dark Horse announced in December 2021 that it will be acquired by Embracer Group AB, a Sweden-based video game and media holding company. Freeman, Mathis & Gary and Reminger filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in California Central Federal District Court on behalf of Jimmy R. Flynt, the brother to Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt. The suit contends that over the years of 1998 to 2009 Jimmy was wrongfully induced to transfer millions in assets and property to the Larry Flynt Revocable Trust in belief that he was to obtain a promised 50% ownership interest in the trust. Larry Flynt died in Feb. 2021. The case is Flynt v. Elizabeth A. Flynt, Individually and as Successor Trustee and Beneficiary of The Larry Flynt Revocable Trust u/t/a/ November 18, 1988, 2:22-cv-00851. Pandora, the music streaming service, was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central Federal District Court. The suit, part of a string of similar complaints, accuses Pandora of broadcasting copies of late comedian and actor Robin Williams’ standup routines without obtaining a valid license for the comedy-routine literary texts or making royalty payments. The complaint was filed by King & Ballow on behalf of the Robin Williams Trust. The case is Robin Williams Trust v. Pandora Media LLC, 2:22-cv-00815. The other copyright infringement complaints, also filed by King & Ballow, involve the allegedly unlicensed streaming of literary texts of standup routines of comedian George Carlin (Main Sequence Ltd v. Pandora Media LLC, 2:22-cv-00810), comedian and actor Andrew Dice Clay (Brave Lion Inc. v. Pandora Media LLC, 2:22-cv-00817), comedian Ron White (Ron White Inc. v. Pandora Media LLC, 2:22-cv-00813) and comedian Bill Engvall (Yellow Rose Productions Inc. v. Pandora Media LLC, 2:22-cv-00809). Video game developer Ubisoft filed a lawsuit in California Central Federal District Court alleging trademark infringement, copyright infringement and cybersquatting. The case, brought by attorney Stephen S. Smith, arises from licensing agreements between Ubisoft and defendant Massimo Gallota Productions to create a live symphonic show based on the popular video game franchise Assassin’s Creed. The complaint accuses Massimo of registering the domain AssassinsCreedSymphony.com before the licensing agreements took effect, and continuing to use the Assassin’s Creed copyright and trademark beyond the termination of the agreements in June 2020. The case is Ubisoft Entertainment SA v. Massimo Gallota Productions Ltd., 2:22-cv-00747. Burns & Levinson filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in Massachusetts Federal District Court on behalf of literary agent David Grishman, his publishing company RedRock Literary LLC and publisher Pink Sand Press LLC. The suit brings claims against romance novels author Marci Clark. The case is Grishman v. Clark, 1:22-cv-10171. Fine arts broker Sotheby’s, artist Kevin McCoy and other defendants were sued in New York Southern Federal District Court over the sale of the Ethereum-based non-fungible token (NFT) Quantum. The complaint, filed by Falcon Rappaport & Berkman on behalf of Free Holdings Inc., contends that Sotheby’s and McCoy falsely marketed and sold the NFT as being the first-ever NFT minted on the Namecoin blockchain on May 3, 2014. According to the suit, the original Quantum NFT was claimed by Free Holdings in April 2021 and the version auctioned by Sotheby’s for $1.47 million is a reproduction. The case is Free Holdings Inc. v. McCoy, 1:22-cv-00881. Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie and Jenner & Block filed a lawsuit in Colorado Federal District Court on behalf of Greenberg Traurig LLP. The court action takes aim at Tijs Verwest, also known as Tiësto, the internationally successful Dutch DJ and musical artist. The complaint seeks declaratory judgment that Greenberg Traurig did not commit malpractice in its representation of Verwest with regard to tax liabilities. The case is Greenberg Traurig LLP v. Verwest, 1:22-cv-00286. ViacomCBS was slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit Monday in Delaware Federal District Court over its Paramount+ streaming service. The case, which asserts a single patent related to streaming media, was filed by Chong Law Firm and Budd Law on behalf of Noblewood IP. The case is Noblewood IP LLC v. ViacomCBS Inc, 1:22-cv-00134. SeatGeek, the tech-driven ticketing marketplace, was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Southern Federal District Court. The court action was brought by Sanders Law Group on behalf of Al Pereira, who accuses SeatGeek of using his photograph of comedian Jim Breuer without permission. The case is Pereira v. SeatGeek Inc., 1:22-cv-00741. Entertainment website IMDb was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in Washington Western Federal District Court. The lawsuit was filed by Sanders Law Group on behalf of photographer Ellis Kaplan, who claims the site used his photo of John Gotti Jr., son of the infamous John Gotti, without permission. The case is Kaplan v. IMDb.com, Inc., 2:22-cv-00069. … Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Virginia Eastern Federal District Court on behalf of music licensing company Freeplay Music. The suit targets Media Research Center for allegedly using the plaintiff’s works as part of its online news programming without permission or payment of licensing fees. The case is Freeplay Music LLC v. Media Research Center, 1:22-cv-00073. Video game developer Riot Games, owner of the popular League of Legends series, filed a copyright infringement action against Imba Technology Company Ltd. and its Singapore-based parent company Suga PTE Ltd. The lawsuit, brought in California Central Federal District Court by Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, accuses the defendants of distributing an infringing mobile game that includes close replicas of League of Legends characters. The case is Riot Games Inc. v. Suga PTE Ltd., 2:22-cv-00429. …  Counsel at Paul Hastings removed a breach-of-contract and copyright infringement lawsuit against Pixar, Walt Disney Motion Pictures and film producer Kori Rae to California Northern Federal District Court. The suit was filed by attorneys Jared Weinstock Esq. and J. Conor Corcoran on behalf of Sweet Cicely Daniher, an artist whose Vanicorn, a van with a unicorn mural painted on it, was enlisted to be used as a showpiece for a Pixar music festival. Daniher accuses the defendants of subsequently developing without permission a character for an upcoming film titled Onward, which is a “doppelganger” of her Vanicorn, being of the same make, model and color, as well as having a Unicorn-themed exterior. The case is Daniher v. Pixar Animation Studios, 4:22-cv-00372.

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