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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe filed a defamation lawsuit on behalf of singer and entrepreneur Jeffrey Huang, also known as Machi Big Brother, in Texas Western District Federal Court. The complaint, pursuing claims against Zachary Wolk, contends that the defendant published an article falsely accusing Huang of embezzlement and shared it with his audience of over 300,000 Twitter followers. The case is Huang v. Wolk, 1:23-cv-00683. … Whiteford, Taylor & Preston filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Virginia Eastern District Federal Court in connection with software for Fusion video games. The suit, brought on behalf of Banilla Games and Grover Gaming, takes aim at Coastal Fuel and Syed Hasan Jafari for allegedly selling counterfeit and pirated Fusion games. The case is Banilla Games Inc. v. Coastal Fuel LLC, 1:23-cv-00777. … Olshan Frome Wolosky filed a libel lawsuit in New York Supreme Court, Bronx County, on behalf of NBA player Gorgui Sy Dieng. The suit pursues claims against Ousmane Tounkara for allegedly publishing a video on YouTube’s Tele Senegal channel that contained several false statements related to the unrest between supporters of Senegal’s president and his chief political rival. The case is Dieng v. Tounkara, 809231/2023E. … Paramount Global, BET and other defendants were slapped with a false advertising lawsuit in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, in connection with the show College Hill: Celebrity Edition. The suit, filed pro se by James Camper, alleges that the plaintiff was fraudulently induced to subscribe to BET Plus to watch the show because a two-minute trailer on social media suggested that two of the show’s stars would have a fight over a disagreement about racial identity, when in fact no such fight was shown in any episode. The case is Camper v. Paramount Global, 23STCV13425. … Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against rapper Nicki Minaj and her stylist Brett Alan Nelson in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County. The complaint, brought on behalf of jewelry store Roseark, contends that Minaj damaged jewelry that she had loaned from the plaintiff for use at a public appearance. The case is Roseark Inc. v. Maraj, 23SMCV02509. … Phillips and Associates filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the operators of Broadway show Hadestown in New York Southern District Federal Court. The complaint, which centers on racial discrimination, was filed on behalf of a former Hadestown actress who contends that the defendants’ staff made comments such as “there are too many Black people on stage.” The complaint further alleges that the plaintiff was terminated after reporting the incident to human resources. The case is Moore v. Hadestown Broadway Limited Liability Co., 1:23-cv-04837. … Universal Music Group was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court over the song “Glow,” performed by rappers Drake and Kanye West. The suit was brought by Gearhart Law on behalf of songwriter Salvatore LaGreca, who claims that the song is substantially similar to a song he wrote and performed. The case is LaGreca v. Universal Music Group, 1:23-cv-04821. … Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie and Dorsey & Whitney filed a trademark infringement lawsuit on behalf of Harpo Inc. and OW Licensing Co., both founded by Oprah Winfrey, in Nevada District Federal Court. The complaint brings claims against Nuu3 Nutrition and two managing members, Brendan O’Shea and Danny O’Shea, for allegedly utilizing Winfrey’s name to sell weight-loss gummy vitamins without authorization. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendants. The case is Harpo Inc. v. Nuu3 Nutrition LLC, 2:23-cv-00899. … Streaming video-on-demand company Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment and certain company directors were hit with a securities class action in Delaware Court of Chancery. The court action, filed by Smith Katzenstein & Jenkins, accuses the directors of filing a misleading proxy statement seeking shareholder approval for several amendments to the company’s certificate of incorporation. The case is Kahan v. Rouhana, 2023-0593. … Harris Beach filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court, Ulster County, targeting music and live-events promotion company Concert Ideas and Adam Tobey for alleged self-dealing. The suit was brought on behalf of the estate of Harris Goldberg, founder of Concert Ideas, and his surviving sons Jesse Goldberg and Eric Goldberg. The suit accuses Tobey of denying the sons employment, compensation and equal benefits in violation of certain agreements made before their father’s passing. The case is Goldberg v. Tobey, EF2023-1270. … CNN was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court in relation to the CNN special Where Have All the Theme Songs Gone. The court case, brought by attorney Allen Hyman on behalf of Anthony Kling and Mary Kling, contends that the defendant used the musical composition of the theme song “We Are the Men of Texaco” in the special without proper authorization. The case is Kling v. Cable News Network Inc., 2:23-cv-04383 … Yahoo, EHM Productions — parent company of TMZ — and other defendants were sued for defamation in California Northern District Federal Court. The complaint was brought by a pro se plaintiff who claims to have been sexually assaulted as a minor by former soap opera and Melrose Place star Jamie Luner. The plaintiff asserts that he was terminated from his job due to the defendants’ publication of false articles that misrepresent his character and relationship with Luner. The case is Oliver v. Ehm Productions, 4:23-cv-02671. … Netflix and Raw TV were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in Arizona District Federal Court in connection with the The Puppet Master, a docuseries about a conman who told his victims he was a British spy. The court action was filed by Anchor Law Group on behalf of John Adams, father of Dr. Kimberley Adams, who had been kidnapped by Robert Freeborn until he was apprehended by the FBI. The plaintiff claims that a photograph that he had previously taken of his daughter with Freeborn was prominently used in the series without his permission. The case is Adams v. Netflix Inc., 2:23-cv-00960. … Honda and Singing Serpent Inc. were sued for copyright infringement in California Southern District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders on behalf of Jason Begin, accuses the defendants of using the plaintiff’s music in an Acura commercial without permission. The case is Begin v. Singing Serpent Inc., 3:23-cv-00991. … Netflix and other defendants were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New Jersey District Federal Court in connection with the streaming of its television series King of Collectibles: The Goldin Touch. The lawsuit, brought by Cohen Fineman LLC on behalf of Richard Berger, Skye Dennis and Gervase Peterson, accuses the defendants of “knowingly copying” the plaintiffs proposed television series The Goldin Boys. The case is Peterson v. Goldin, 1:23-cv-02866. … Universal Music Group and other defendants were sued for copyright infringement in New York Southern District Federal Court. The lawsuit, filed by the Law Offices of Michael G. Berger on behalf of Free World Music Ltd. and other plaintiffs, accuses the defendants of sampling the musical composition titled, “Espoir Composition X” without authorization or permission. The case is Keep On Kicking Music Inc. v. Universal Music Group, 1:23-cv-04400. … Showtime Networks and other defendants were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court in connection with the 2014 television series Penny Dreadful. The lawsuit was brought by White & Case on behalf of Anna Biani, a member of the online creative-writing platform Murders & Roses: Victorian London Crime and Scandals. According to the suit, Biani claims that the writers and producers of Penny Dreadful mirrored key characters within the series after four of her original characters without authorization or permission. The case is Biani v. Showtime Networks Inc., 2:23-cv-03845.
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By Stan Soocher
A current dispute over a band name that’s worth tracking is one between two founding members of “The Isley Brothers,” the legendary r&b group, that focuses on what happens to ownership of the band name rights when one member stops performing with the group but continues to be involved in its business affairs.
By Andrew Hope/Michael A. Mora
Over the past four years, the NCAA aggressively lobbied Congress to pass a uniform NIL standard. Roughly a dozen bills have been sponsored by Democrats and Republicans alike, though none has ever advanced to a vote. Consequently, it appears increasingly likely that the courts will be called upon once again to intervene.
By Robert W. Clarida and Thomas Kjellberg
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently upheld a final refusal by the U.S. Copyright Office to register a visual work that was “autonomously created by a computer algorithm running on a machine,” which the plaintiff called the Creativity Machine and identified as the “author” of the work.
By Entertainment Law & Finance Staff
A look at moves among attorneys, law firms, companies and other players in entertainment law.