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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

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Notable court filings in entertainment law.

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BuzzFeed, Townsquare Media and other defendants were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Southern Federal District Court. The suit was brought by Garbarini Fitzgerald P.C. on behalf of Charming Beats, owner of an original musical composition and recording titled “War on Christmas.” The complaint, identical to one filed by the same law firm several days earlier (Charming Beats LLC v. Townsquare Media Inc., 1:22-cv-01379), accuses the defendants of posting videos to their respective sites, which incorporate the work without authorization. The case is Charming Beats LLC v. Buzzfeed Inc., 1:22-cv-02202. Live Nation Entertainment was hit with a personal injury lawsuit in Massachusetts District Court. The lawsuit was brought by attorney Samuel A. Segal on behalf of Madelyn Johnson. The case is Johnson v. Live Nation Worldwide Inc., 1:22-cv-10416.  Bursor & Fisher filed a class action in California Central Federal District Court against Chinese video game developer miHoYo Co. and U.S. subsidiary Cognosphere LLC. The suit, which centers on the role- playing game Genshin Impact, claims the defendants unlawfully deny refunds for in-game purchases to players under the age of 18. The case is A.T. v. Cognosphere LLC, 2:22-cv-01761.  Social gaming company Zynga and members of its board of directors were hit with a shareholder lawsuit in New York Southern Federal District Court over the company’s planned merger with Take Two Interactive. The lawsuit, brought by Brodsky & Smith on behalf of stockholder Nils Henninger, alleges that the registration statement in favor of the transaction fails to provide adequate disclosures to shareholders. The case is Henninger v. Zynga Inc., 3:22-cv-01694. Additionally, Take-Two Interactive and Zynga, as well as members of Zynga’s board of directors, were hit with a securities lawsuit filed by Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz in New York Southern Federal District Court on behalf of Ryan O’Dell over the companies’ planned merger. This lawsuit also alleges that the companies have failed to provide adequate disclosures to shareholders. The case is O’Dell v. Zynga Inc., 1:22-cv-02139. A third similar lawsuit was filed in New York Southern Federal District Court by Melwani & Chan on behalf of Shiva Stein, Stein v. Zynga Inc., 1:22-cv-02091.  Roku Inc., maker of smart TVs and streaming players, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in New York Southern Federal District Court over the alleged sale of counterfeit goods. The suit, filed by Cole Schotz and Thoits Law, pursues claims against unidentified online retailers. The case is Roku Inc. v. The Individuals, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Unincorporated Associations Identified on Schedule A hereto, 1:22-cv-02168. The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, Lionsgate Entertainment, Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Apple and others were named in a lawsuit filed in Louisiana Eastern Federal District Court involving sexual assault charges. The 80-page complaint was filed by Lamothe Law Firm on behalf of a Center for Toxicology employee who was hired to work as a testing coordinator on television production sets amid COVID-19. The plaintiff contends that she was sexually harassed by coworkers on set and outside of work, culminating in a sexual assault. The plaintiff also maintains that she was retaliated against for attempting to get her supervisor to take remedial action against her assailant and for demanding pay equal to her male counterparts. The case is Kelly v. Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health LLC, 2:22-cv-00683. DISH Network, Sling TV, and NagraStar filed a lawsuit in Florida Middle Federal District Court alleging unauthorized broadcast. The court action, filed by Boatman Ricci, targets Jason LaBossierre and other defendants d/b/a Expedite TV, Mundo TV and Must TV for allegedly retransmitting DISH and Sling content without authorization or payment of subscription fees. The complaint is related to an October 2018 permanent injunction against the defendants’ SetTV, which also resulted in an over $90 million settlement. The case is Dish Network L.L.C. v. LaBossiere, 8:22-cv-00603. Discovery Communications was hit with a consumer privacy class action in New York Southern Federal District Court over the company’s website HGTV.com. The suit, brought by Bursor & Fisher, accuses Discovery of disclosing subscribers’ personal information, including a record of every video clip they watch, to third-party Facebook without consent. The case is Carter v. Discovery Communications LLC, 1:22-cv-02031. HBO was also hit with a data breach class action in New York Southern Federal District Court filed by Bursor & Fisher on behalf of HBO Max subscribers who contend that HBO knowingly discloses personal identifiable information, including viewed video clips, to Facebook without consent. The case is McDaniel et al v. Home Box Office Inc., 1:22-cv-01942. Vice Media and Refinery 29 Inc. were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Southern Federal District Court. The suit, brought by Doniger / Burroughs on behalf of photographer Bernhard Kuhmstedt, contends that defendants displayed Kuhmstedt’s picture of musical group NSYNC on their website without authorization or permission. The case is Kuhmstedt v. Refinery 29 Inc., 1:22-cv-01996. Holland & Hart filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in Utah Federal District Court pertaining to the $3.5 million cash sale of a 2019 Bugatti Chiron Coupe used in music videos by American rapper Post Malone. The suit was filed on behalf of Steven K. Dimopoulous and pursues claims against Josh Ayers, Die Trying Auto Brokers and Excalibur Motors. The case is Dimopoulous v. Excalibur Motors, 2:22-cv-00163. … Pryor Cashman filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Eastern Federal District Court on behalf of Ultimate Rap League (URL), a producer of live rap battles. The suit accuses former URL talent scout Dagoberto Velez, professionally known as Norbes, of selling pirated versions of URL’s rap battle videos and displaying URL’s rap battles in his Facebook group without paying URL’s monthly subscription fee. The case is Ultimate Rap League LLC v. Velez, 1:22-cv-01179. Recording artists Drake and Big Freedia, Warner Music and other defendants were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in Louisiana Eastern Federal District Court. The court case was brought by Andrews Arts & Sciences Law on behalf of New Orleans musician Samuel Nicholas III, who claims that his copyrighted work “Roll Call” has been incorporated into the rappers’ songs. The case is Nicholas v. Pigott, 2:22-cv-00537.

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