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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

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Notable court filings in entertainment law.

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AMC Networks, the entertainment company that operates BBC America, SundanceTV and other channels, was hit with a digital privacy class action in New York Southern District Federal Court. The suit, brought by the firm Carney Bates & Pulliam for the plaintiffs, accuses Sundance of transmitting video viewing information from its website to Meta Platforms through a tracking pixel in violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act and various state laws. The case is McCoy v. AMC Networks Inc., 1:23-cv-00441. … Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Pennsylvania Eastern District Federal Court on behalf of Pamela Hart, widow of William Hart, founder and main songwriter for the classic R&B group The Delfonics. The suit targets the booking agency/management company Soul1 Entertainment Group and its owner, performer Greg Hill, for allegedly offering products and services under an infringing Delfonics mark. The case is Hart v. Hill, 2:23-cv-00211. TikTok and its parent Byte Dance were hit with a privacy class action in Illinois Northern District Federal Court. The complaint, brought by Reese LLP and Laukaitis Law Firm on behalf of the plaintiffs, is part of a string of cases accusing the defendants of deploying an in-app browser that records user activity and related data. The case is Bravo v. Tiktok Inc., 1:23-cv-00225. Marvel Entertainment and its parent Walt Disney Co. were slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit in North Carolina Eastern District Federal Court. The suit was brought by Carnes Warwick on behalf of LL Whitfield Family Trust, an art and apparel seller that accuses the defendants of selling shirts featuring characters such as “Deadpool” and “Comic Book Guy” from The Simpsons that infringe the plaintiff’s “I Have Issues” mark. The case is LL Whitfield Family Trust v. Marvel Entertainment LLC, 5:23-cv-00018. Post Foods sued the musical group OK Go in Minnesota District Federal Court to resolve a trademark dispute. According to the complaint, the band issued a cease-and-desist letter over the company’s “OK Go!” Honey Bunches of Oats’ single-serve cereal cups. Post alleges there’s no likelihood of confusion based on the separate markets and seeks a declaration of non-infringement. The complaint was filed by Winthrop & Weinstine and Thompson Coburn. The case is Post Foods LLC v. Ok Go Partnership, 0:23-cv-00110. DraftKings, the daily fantasy sports and sports betting site, was hit with a consumer class action in Massachusetts District Federal Court over its handling of the Jan. 2 Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game that was interrupted by the on-field cardiac arrest of Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin. The court action, filed by Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman and Hudock Law Group, claims that DraftKings cancelled its NFL Showdown and Flash Draft fantasy football wagers. The case is Turley v. DraftKings Inc., 1:23-cv-10054. Twitch, the live video streaming platform for gamers, and parent company Amazon.com were sued for patent infringement in California Northern District Federal Court. The suit, which asserts a patent related to real-time video streaming, was filed by Armstrong Teasdale and Hopkins & Carley on behalf of BSD Crown Ltd., an Israeli company formerly known as Emblaze. The case is BSD Crown Ltd. v. Amazon.com Inc., 3:23-cv-00057. The Walt Disney Company, Twenty-First Century Fox and Ryan Murphy Productions were slapped with a wrongful death lawsuit in Massachusetts District Federal Court. The court action was brought by the Keches Law Group on behalf of Patricia Woodward, as personal representative of the estate of her late husband Paul Woodward. The suit contends that Paul contracted, and later died of, COVID-19 in the course of his employment while working on the production set of American Horror Story in March 2021. The complaint accuses the defendants of violating and failing to enforce their own COVID-19 safety protocols as well as other occupational industry standards designed to keep the employees safe during the pandemic. The case is Woodward v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 1:23-cv-10016. Celebrity photography agency BackGrid sued Twitter for copyright infringement in California Central District Federal Court. The suit, filed by One LLP, claims that Twitter facilitates widespread copyright infringement and fails to terminate the accounts of users that have been the subject of multiple infringement complaints. The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that Twitter is not shielded under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because it has not adopted or reasonably implemented a repeat infringer policy. The case is BackGrid USA Inc. v. Twitter Inc., 2:22-cv-09462. The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm Entertainment filed a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against The Secret Dis Group LLC a/k/a The Secret Disney Group and other defendants in Florida Middle District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Holihan Law, accuses the defendants of selling unauthorized merchandise and apparel containing Disney and Star Wars characters, including face masks and stickers promoting COVID-19 safety protocols. The case is Disney Enterprises Inc. v. Secret Dis Group LLC, 6:22-cv-02417. Banilla Games and Grover Gaming filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Cameron McCarthy, Seth Agli and Kacey Morgan in Texas Northern District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr and Whiteford Taylor & Preston, accuses the defendants of selling pirated versions of the plaintiffs’ Fusion casino-style games. The case is Banilla Games Inc. v. McCarthy, 3:22-cv-02910. Wagging Tails Productions, owner of copyrights to the film Runt, sued screenwriter and director William Coakley in California Central District Federal Court. The suit, backed by Blank Rome and Mukasey Frenchman LLP, accuses Coakley of threatening to release the film online and making extortionate demands on the film’s backers. The suit further alleges that Coakley made false claims regarding abuse on the set of Runt and has sought to sabotage the film’s commercial success. The case is Wagging Tails Productions Inc. v. Coakley, 2:22-cv-09329. Recording artist Kordhell, Sony Music Entertainment and Orchard Music Inc. were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court over the Kordhell singles “Murder in My Mind” and “Killers from the Northside.” The lawsuit was brought by Larry Zerner Law Offices on behalf of Sun City Publishing, which claims that the Kordhell songs incorporate samples taken from works owned by Sun City. The case is Sun City Publishing LLC v. Kenney, 8:22-cv-02311. … Morgan, Lewis & Bockius filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court on behalf of MediaCo Holding Inc. d/b/a HOT 97. The suit accuses DCN Studios Inc. of failing to pay a $350,000 sponsorship fee in connection with HOT 97’s 2022 summer jam artist-lounge title sponsorship. The case is MediaCo Holding Inc. v. DCN Studios Inc., 1:22-cv-10827. Sony Music filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against musician TREFUEGO in Arizona District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Proskauer Rose and Coppersmith Brockelman, accuses the defendant of unlawfully sampling Toshifumi Hinata’s song “Reflections” to compose the hit song “90MH.” The case is Sony Music Entertainment v. TREFUEGO, 2:22-cv-02170. Microsoft was hit with an antitrust lawsuit in California Northern District Federal Court seeking to block the company’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of video-game giant Activision Blizzard. The suit alleges the merger will reduce competition in the video game industry and lead to higher prices, labor constraints and other issues. The complaint, which mirrors a lawsuit launched by the Federal Trade Commission on Dec. 8 seeking to block the deal, was filed by the Alioto Law Firm and the Joseph Saveri Law Firm on behalf of 10 individual “video gamers.” The case is DeMartini v. Microsoft Corp., 3:22-cv-08991.

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