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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

Fresh Filings

Notable court filings in entertainment law.


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Warner Norcross & Judd and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Michigan Eastern Federal District Court on behalf of Druyan-Sagan Associates (f/k/a Carl Sagan Productions). The lawsuit takes aim at software and virtual reality developer SaganWorks for allegedly using the name and likeness of author and TV host Carl Sagan in order to create a false association with the late scientist and icon. The complaint also asserts the defendant ignored the plaintiff’s cease-and-desist requests, as well as rejections of trademark applications by the federal government, and that the defendant has falsely claimed the “Sagan” in SaganWorks is an acronym for “Spatially, Accessible, Gallery of Archived kNowledge.” The case is Druyan-Sagan Associates Inc. v. SaganWorks Inc., 2:22-cv-10810. Fandango, the movie ticketing website, was slapped with a class action in Florida Southern District Federal Court over alleged violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act. The suit, filed by Bursor & Fisher, accuses Fandango of knowingly publishing and disclosing consumers’ personal identifiable information without their permission to third parties. The suit further contends that consumers personal information is shared after they purchase a movie ticket or watch a video clip on Fandango’s website or mobile application. The case is Goldstein v. Fandango Media LLC, 9:22-cv-80569. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld sued the U.S. Small Business Administration and its administrator, Isabella Casillas Guzman, in District of Columbia Federal District Court on behalf of live music venue Macon Arts Center. The suit is part of a string of cases pursuing Administrative Procedure Act claims in connection with the agency’s denial of emergency federal financial assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The case is Macon Arts Center LLC v. Small Business Administration, 1:22-cv-00974. Pandora, Spotify, CD Baby and other defendants were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in North Carolina Eastern Federal District Court. The court action was brought by Eldreth Law Firm on behalf of Heat Wave Recording, which accuses the defendants of displaying and distributing without authorization songs from the albums Beach Music Super Collaboration Album and The Show Must Go On by the musical group the Embers. The case is Heat Wave Recording LLC v. Bluewater Recordings Inc., 5:22-cv-00137. Dorsey & Whitney filed a lawsuit in Texas Northern Federal District Court on behalf of Jostens Inc., which partnered with the Chicago Cubs as designer of the team’s official 2016 World Championship rings. The suit arises from Heritage Auctions’ 2021 offering of a World Series ring it claimed was made for the series MVP player Ben Zobrist. Jostens, which alleges that the ring is counterfeit and was stolen from a batch of seven samples, seeks a court order requiring the ring to be returned or turned over to the court. The case is Jostens Inc v. Haarsma, 3:22-cv-00796. …  Mobile game publisher Playstudios Inc. and CEO Andrew Pascal were hit with a securities class action in California Northern District Court in connection with the company’s 2021 merger with a special purpose acquisition company. The court case, filed by Susman Godfrey and Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, claims that Playstudios misled investors in connection with the merger and concealed delays impacting the release of its flagship game, Kingdom Boss. The case is Felipe v. Playstudios Inc., 3:22-cv-02164. Showtime was hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit in Wyoming Federal District Court targeting its UFO television series. The court action was filed by attorney Bradley L. Booke on behalf of UFO Magazine, which asserts the trademark for “UFO” in the realms of television, film, publishing and other media and claims that it has been in talks to develop a movie or series for years. The case is UFO Magazine Inc. v. Showtime Network Inc., 0:22-cv-00078. Armstrong Teasdale filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Missouri Western Federal District Court on behalf of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), House of Bryant Publications, Ben Peters Music and other plaintiffs. The complaint targets the operators of Score Sports Bar & Grill in Independence, MO, for unauthorized public performance of musical compositions from the BMI catalog. The case is Broadcast Music, Inc. v. B S Inc., 4:22-cv-00220. Epic Games was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central Federal District Court over the popular game Fortnite Battle Royale. The case was filed by Hecht Partners LLP on behalf of L.A. choreographer Kyle Hanagami, who contends that Epic misappropriated his signature moves for a feature that enables players’ avatars to perform dances. The suit describes the Fortnite dance as an “inch-perfect copy” of Hanagami’s choreography in singer Charlie Puth’s “How Long” video, which has been viewed by millions on YouTube since it was first posted in 2017. The case is Hanagami v. Epic Games Inc., 2:22-cv-02063. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan sued Tencent Cloud for copyright infringement in California Central Federal District Court on behalf of Snail Games USA Inc., owner of the video game Ark: Survival Evolved. The suit alleges that Tencent is hosting an infringing game on its servers. The case is Snail Games USA Inc. v. Tencent Cloud LLC, 2:22-cv-02009. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman sued two Hollywood financiers in California Central Federal District Court on behalf of Chinese film studio Base Media Technology Group. The complaint accuses Remington “Bill” Chase and Kevin Robl of defrauding investors by claiming that funds they raised would be used to finance Base film projects. In reality, the suit claims, the pair forged loan agreements, created fake corporate shell companies and misappropriated funds for their own use. The case is Base Media Technology Group Ltd. v. Chase, 2:22-cv-01954. Venable and Greenspoon Marder LLP filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the District of Columbia Federal District Court on behalf of The Estate of Marcel Theo Hall a/k/a “Biz Markie,” the late rapper and DJ known for his 1989 single “Just a Friend.” The suit accuses Jennifer Izumi, who was designated to act as Hall’s power of attorney, of misappropriating funds and wrongfully obtaining access to intellectual property rights related to the “Biz Markie” mark. According to the complaint, intellectual property rights were not included in an executed limited power of attorney form. The case is Hall v. Biz Markie Inc., 1:22-cv-00806.

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