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Netflix, Hazy Mills Productions and other defendants are being sued in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, in relation to Q-Force, a Netflix animated show. The lawsuit was brought by the Valkyrie Law Group on behalf of drag queen Vicky Vox, who accuses Netflix of using her name, image and likeness in the show and in advertisements without her authorization. The case is Hara v. Silvestri, 23STCV27581. … Filmmaker Seth Breedlove (d/b/a Small Town Monsters) filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against TOFG LLC (d/b/a 1091) in New York Supreme Court, New York County. The suit, brought by attorney Gregory A. Sioris, accuses the defendant of failing to remit royalties and other payments to the plaintiff under a film distribution agreement. The case is Breedlove v. TOFG LLC. … Michelman & Robinson and attorney Peter R. Ginsberg were sued for legal malpractice in New York Supreme Court, New York County. The suit was brought by Friedman & Feiger on behalf of athlete management firm Sportstars Inc. and agent Ron Slavin, former clients of the defendants. According to the complaint, the defendants used confidential information from their representation of the plaintiffs to provide legal services to Canadian Football League and former University of Georgia football player J.R. Reed in a lawsuit and arbitration against Sportstars and Slavin. The case is Sportstars Inc. v. Michelman & Robinson LLP. … Gaming companies Basket Entertainment and Basket Technologies sued Vice President of Games Operations John Charles Braun Cannata, Mobile Game Advertising & More and R Advertising & Sales in Florida Middle District Federal Court. According to the complaint, Cannata breached his fiduciary duties to Basket by acquiring ownership interests in the popular Roblox games Blade Ball and Obby But You’re On a Bike without presenting acquisition opportunities to Basket. The suit further accuses Cannata of acquiring ownership interests in derivative games that directly compete with games owned by Basket. The suit was filed by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. The case is Basket Entertainment Inc. v. Cannata, 2:23-cv-01028. … Live Nation Entertainment and members of its board were hit with a shareholder derivative lawsuit in California Central District Federal Court stemming from a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the company’s alleged mishandling of ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s concert tour. The lawsuit, filed by Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Hertz, Rigrodsky Law and Grabar Law Office, contends that the media attention highlighted Live Nation’s anticompetitive conduct, including entering into extended restrictive contracts with artists and venues, charging high fees for ticketing services and retaliating against venues for working with alternative promoters or services. The case is Zwick v. Live Nation Entertainment Inc., 2:23-cv-09520. … Document Publishing LLC, which publishes the fashion and culture magazine Document Journal, and Editor-in-Chief Nick Vogelson have been sued by Creative and Fashion Director Sarah Richardson for unjust enrichment in New York Southern District Federal Court. According to the complaint, the defendants promised a 25% equity interest in the company and other compensation in exchange for the plaintiff’s services, but the terms were not memorialized in a written agreement due to drafting delays by Vogelson’s attorneys. The suit, which seeks $1.2 million in damages, was filed by attorney Peter M. Levine. The case is Richardson v. Vogelson, 1:23-cv-09940. … Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which produces the iconic Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, was sued in New York Southern District Federal Court over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The suit, brought by Stein & Vargas on behalf of Danny Goldschmidt, accuses the defendant of discriminating against deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals by failing to provide sign language interpreters at the shows. The case is Goldschmidt v. Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., 1:23-cv-09932. … 43 North Broadway was hit with a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court. The court case, filed by One LLP on behalf of Charly Acquisitions and Charly Trademarks, accuses the defendant of copying and distributing dozens of copyrighted sound recordings without authorization. According to the suit, the defendant also uses counterfeit marks that are confusingly identical to the plaintiffs’ marks. The case is Charly Acquisitions Ltd v. 43 North Broadway LLC, 7:23-cv-09851. … Sam & Kate Production, Thomasville Pictures and other defendants were sued for breach of contract in New York Supreme Court, New York County. The suit, brought by the U.S. Law Group on behalf of New Legend Debt By Meitav Dash LP, seeks over $1.1 million based on an alleged loan default in connection with production of the 2022 film Sam & Kate starring Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek. The case is New Legend Debt By Meitav Dash LP v. Sam & Kate Production LLC. … Buzzworthy Media Ventures was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court. The lawsuit was filed by the Sanders Law Group on behalf of Todd Gray, who contends that the defendant used his copyrighted photograph of Michael Jackson without authorization. The case is Gray v. Buzzworthy Media Ventures LLC, 1:23-cv-08169. … The National Collegiate Athletic Association has been sued in Illinois Northern District Federal Court in a complaint challenging a decision that twin brothers Matthew Bewley and Ryan Bewley, recently awarded scholarships at Chicago State, are ineligible to compete in intercollegiate basketball. The lawsuit, filed by Hinshaw & Culbertson, contends that the NCAA has violated antitrust laws by putting ‘unreasonable restraints’ on how student athletes may receive compensation as part of its amateurism certification process. The NCAA has stated that its decision was primarily based on payments the plaintiffs received authorizing use of their names and likenesses. The case is Bewley v. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, 1:23-cv-15570. … Machine Entertainment Group and Joseph Bowden were sued for copyright infringement in Georgia Northern District Federal Court. The complaint was filed by ChaudhryLaw and the Law Offices of Marguerite E. Patrick on behalf of Herbert Randall Wright III (p/k/a G Herbo). According to the complaint, Bowden refuses to acknowledge an agreement that returned copyrights to G Herbo’s songs to the artist by spreading false and defamatory misrepresentations that G Herbo forced him to sign it with threats of violence. The suit contends that Bowden still distributes G Herbo’s songs and seeks a declaration that the release agreement is valid and enforceable. The case is Wright v. Machine Entertainment Group LLC, 1:23-cv-04911. … Comedian and sports broadcast host Chuck Booms filed a lawsuit in Ohio Northern District Federal Court accusing Gray Media Group of using his likeness without permission. The lawsuit, filed by attorney David G. Phillips, asserts that the defendant misappropriated the plaintiff’s name and persona as part of a promotion for The Fifth Quarter, a television program that recaps Cleveland Browns games. The defendant is represented by McDonald Hopkins. The case is Booms v. Gray Media Group Inc., 1:23-cv-02099. … Polsinelli and Mims, Kaplan, Burns & Garretson filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Missouri Eastern District Federal Court regarding the sale of concert tour merchandise associated with the popular heavy metal band Metallica. The suit sought to enjoin “bootleggers” from selling counterfeit goods at the site of the group’s performance in St. Louis in November. The case is Merch Traffic LLC v. Various John Does, 4:23-cv-01349. … Iron Maiden Holdings, a company owned by the members of the British music group Iron Maiden, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Illinois Northern District Federal Court over the alleged sale of counterfeit goods. The suit, filed by TME Law P.C., targets unidentified e-commerce operators that market and sell Iron Maiden counterfeit merchandise. The case is Iron Maiden Holdings Ltd. v. The Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations Identified On Schedule A, 1:23-cv-15337. … TV Tokyo Corp., the creator of popular anime Naruto, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Illinois Northern District Federal Court over the alleged sale of counterfeit goods. The suit, filed by Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, pursues claims against unidentified e-commerce operators for allegedly selling counterfeit Naruto-branded goods. The case is TV Tokyo Corporation v. The Individuals, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Unincorporated Associations Identified on Schedule A Hereto, 1:23-cv-15325. … Live Nation Worldwide and other defendants were slapped with a breach-of-contract lawsuit in Alabama 10th Judicial Circuit Court, Jefferson County. The lawsuit, brought by Battle & Winn on behalf of Alabama Stage Productions, accuses the defendants of failing to pay for services rendered related to the Kingdom Tour featuring Kirk Franklin and Maverick City Music. The case is Alabama Stage Productions Inc. v. Norman Gyamfi, 01-CV-2023-903821. … Perkins Coie filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Illinois Northern District Federal Court on behalf of Ravinia Festival Association. The court action takes aim at Ravinia Brewing Co. for allegedly infringing the plaintiff’s mark by using it to sell food and beverages and promote musical performances despite the termination of an underlying mutual-use agreement. The case is Ravinia Festival Association v. Ravinia Brewing Co. LLC, 1:23-cv-15322. … Kingsid Ventures Ltd. and Vassal Benford were sued in Nevada District Court, Clark County, over the management and use of intellectual property of famed blues musician B.B. King. Plaintiff Tennco Holdings Inc., represented by Hayes Wakayama Juan, claims that it holds an exclusive license to all rights of publicity and all trademark, service mark, logo and tradename rights in Mr. King’s names, likeness, image, signature and voice. According to the suit, Benford is holding himself out as the manager of King’s estate and has publicized plans to open a B.B. King’s Blues Club inside the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The case is Tennco Holdings LLC v. Kingsid Ventures Ltd., A-23-880304-C.
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By Stan Soocher
A recent New York federal court decision in a dispute between a broker that sublicenses program content and a broadcaster that sublicensed content from the broker considered the interaction of contract language and extra-contractual elements of the parties’ relationship to determine whether a fiduciary relationship existed.
By Avalon Zoppo
In a move of keen interest to the entertainment industry, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has agreed to review whether a judge’s denial of a motion to strike a California Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation suit can be immediately appealed by the defendant who claims the case was brought solely to chill its speech.
By Jonathan Moskin and Rachel Pauley
The emerging cases by authors and copyright owners challenging various generative AI programs for using copyrighted materials are certain to create new troubles for the courts being asked to apply the fair use doctrine to this important new technology.
By Entertainment Law & Finance Staff
A look at moves among attorneys, law firms, companies and other players in entertainment law.