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Dorsey & Whitney filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court on behalf of Ultra Records LLC. The suit targets Ultra International Music Publishing, a business affiliated with Ultra Records’ original founder Patrick Moxey. According to the suit, Moxey’s right to use the “ULTRA” trademark was extinguished when Sony Music exercised an option to acquire sole ownership of Ultra Records in 2021. The case is Ultra Records LLC v. Ultra International Music Publishing LLC, 1:22-cv-09667. … Davis Wright Tremaine and Isenberg & Hewitt filed a complaint for declaratory relief in Georgia Northern District Federal Court on behalf of Maverick Entertainment Group Inc. The suit seeks a declaration that the plaintiff is authorized to distribute four movies produced by Onyx Theory and featuring actor Montreal D. Freeman, also known as De’Andrae Freeman. Freeman has sought to block distribution of at least one of the films. The case is Maverick Entertainment Group Inc. v. Freeman, 1:22-cv-04459. … FloSports, a video-streaming platform dedicated to sports coverage, was slapped with a consumer class action in New York Western District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, accuses the defendant of deceptively charging an annual subscription fee instead of a monthly fee as well as charging renewal fees without consent. The case is Hill v. FloSports Inc., 1:22-cv-00854. … Loeb & Loeb filed a false advertising and trademark infringement lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court in connection with the promotional campaign of hip-hop rappers Drake and 21 Savage’s new Her Loss album. The suit, brought on behalf of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. d/b/a Conde Nast, owner of Vogue magazine, accuses the defendants of creating and distributing counterfeit issues of Vogue magazine and disseminating images across social media to “deceptively” confuse consumers. The case is Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. v. Graham, 1:22-cv-09517. … Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Ohio Southern District Federal Court on behalf of Third Side Music Inc. The complaint accuses baby stroller manufacturer Evenflo Company Inc. of using “soundalike” copies of hit songs in its advertisements to avoid paying artists licensing fees. Third Side is also represented by Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley LLP. The case is Third Side Music Inc. v. Evenflo Company Inc., 3:22-cv-00315. … Mobile gaming company Playtika and members of its board of directors were hit with a shareholder derivative lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Weiss Law on behalf of Stephen Bushansky, accuses the defendants of misleading investors about plans to offer new content and features to customers. According to the complaint, the defendants did not develop new content and instead chose to make costly infrastructure changes for its two most popular games Slotomania and Bingo Blitz, causing the company’s value to decline. The case is Bushansky v. Antokol, 1:22-cv-06758. … Dykema Gossett filed a lawsuit in Texas Western District Federal Court on behalf of the Classical Music Institute pertaining to labor union relations. The court action brings claims against American Federation of Musicians Local 23. The complaint alleges that the plaintiff was wrongfully placed on the defendant’s International Unfair List despite not being in a labor dispute with the union. The case is Classical Music Institute v. American Federation of Musicians – Local 23, 5:22-cv-01196. … Paramount Pictures and other defendants were sued in Texas Northern District Federal Court. The suit was brought by a pro se plaintiff who contends that the Infinite movie produced by Paramount was derived from the plaintiff’s book titled The Return of the Divine Seraphim. The case is Liccardi v. Shorr, 3:22-cv-02423. … Tucker Ellis filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court on behalf of Coachella Music Festival LLC and festival co-producer Goldenvoice LLC. The complaint names Coachill-Inn LLC, Coachillin Brands LLC and other companies under the Coachillin name. The suit claims the Coachillin mark is associated with the Coachella music festival by the public. The case is Coachella Music Festival LLC et al v. Coachillin Holdings LLC, 5:22-cv-01882. … Craig McConnell, a collector of NBA game-worn jerseys, was hit with a breach-of-contract lawsuit in New Jersey District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Akerman on behalf of sports memorabilia collector Jason Silverstein, alleges that McConnell initially agreed to sell individual jerseys to Silverstein, then later attempted to renegotiate the contract into an “all-or-nothing” deal for 64 jerseys. The case is Silverstein v. McConnell, 2:22-cv-06271. … Walt Disney Animation Studios and other defendants were slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court. The case was filed by Polsinelli and other counsel on behalf of Daniel E. Grigson, a songwriter and musician who contends that various elements of his song “That Girl” were used to create the song “Some Things Never Change” for the blockbuster animated feature Frozen II. The case is Grigson v. Lopez, 2:22-cv-07971. … Stand-up comedian Myq Kaplan filed a class action lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court against Comedy Partners, which owns the Comedy Central television network and record label. The suit accuses the defendant of underpaying royalties to comedians for digital performances of their works on SiriusXM. The suit is backed by Miller Shah, Pearson Simon & Warshaw and Johnson & Johnson LLP. The case is Kaplan v. Comedy Partners, 1:22-cv-09355. … MeTV was hit with a digital privacy class action in Illinois Northern District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, pursues claims under the Video Privacy Protection Act on behalf of individuals whose personal information was allegedly shared with Facebook through a tracking pixel on the defendant’s website. The case is Gardner v. MeTV, 1:22-cv-05963. … The National Football League and NFL Enterprises were hit with a digital privacy class action in New York Southern District Federal Court in connection with the use of a Facebook tracking pixel on official NFL team websites. The complaint, filed by Levi & Korsinsky, accuses the NFL of violating the federal Video Privacy Protection Act by disclosing visitors’ personal identifiable information and viewing history to Facebook without consent. The case is Alex v. NFL Enterprises LLC, 1:22-cv-09239. … Actor Johnny Depp and rock guitarist Jeff Beck filed a lawsuit in New York Western District Federal Court targeting writer and filmmaker Bruce Jackson over copyright claims he has made concerning his book Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me, first published in the early 1970s. The suit, brought by Brown Rudnick, seeks a declaration that Depp and Beck’s song “Sad MF Parade” does not infringe Jackson’s work, claiming that the piece the author asserts — a toast attributed to a historical figure named Slim Wilson entitled “Hobo Ben” — is actually public domain. The Depp/Beck song is featured on the album 18, which the duo released in July. Deuce Music Ltd. is also named as a plaintiff in the suit. The case is Depp II v. Jackson, 1:22-cv-00786. … Weil, Gotshal & Manges filed complaint for declaratory judgment in New York Southern District Court on behalf of GLAS Trust Co. The complaint arises from the reinstatement of Kazuo Okada as CEO of defendant Universal Entertainment Corp., a Japanese gaming products maker, following his removal in 2017 for misappropriating over 2 billion yen. The suit targets Universal for allegedly defaulting on a multimillion-dollar note purchase agreement by failing to notify GLAS within ten days of Okada’s reinstatement and election of ten of his associates to the board. The case is Glass Trust Company LLC v. Universal Entertainment Corp., 1:22-cv-08946. … Sirius XM Holdings Inc. was slapped with a digital accessibility class action in New York Southern District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Gottlieb & Associates, contends that the defendant’s Sirius XM website denies full access to blind and visually impaired individuals. The case is Young v. Sirius XM Holdings Inc., 1:22-cv-08925.
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By Michelle Davis
Force majeure is lurking in the shadows of the Hollywood strikes, offering struggling studios a potential lifeline out of debt. But the best attorneys and the strongest contracts are proactive, rather than reactive. Thus, consider the following drafting tips to strengthen your force majeure language now, in the calm before the next storm.
By George Ernst
This year’s update from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for O-1B visa petitions has knock-on effects for the movie and TV industries. The update has clarified the correct standard of adjudication for an individual with both elements of an O-1B artist and O-1B motion-picture-and-television-industry (MPTV) classification, meaning situations where a foreign national will be working in the U.S. as an artist, but some of their work will be in MPTV.
By Thomas Kjellberg and Robert W. Clarida
Termination is not automatic. It may be effected only through affirmative action on the part of the author or his or her statutory successors, who must serve an advance notice, signed by or on behalf of all of those entitled to terminate the grant, on the current copyright owner within specified time limits and under specified conditions.
By Entertainment Law & Finance Staff
A look at moves among attorneys, law firms, companies and other players in entertainment law.