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Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation Litigators

Fresh Filings

Notable recent court filings in entertainment law.


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JTM Partners LLC has been sued for copyright infringement in Michigan Western District Federal Court. The complaint, which arises from the allegedly unauthorized use of photographer Brian Duffy’s photographic work of David Bowie on the defendant’s website, was brought by SRipLaw on behalf of Duffy Archive. The case is Duffy Archive Ltd. v. JTM Partners LLC, 1:24-cv-00540. NJ Records and Nicole LaTress Jackson were named in a copyright lawsuit in Louisiana Middle District Federal Court seeking a declaration of non-infringement in connection with their musical release “Can We Go There.” The case was filed by attorney Greg Mier on behalf of Thomas Antoine, who promoted and released a second version of a song by the artist Tucka called “Work It Out” after the previous version had been discontinued due to cease-and-desist letters by Jackson. The suit disputes the defendants’ assertions of copyright infringement regarding the second version of “Work It Out,” arguing that it has different music, beats and lyrics than “Can We Go There.” The case is Antoine v. Jackson, 3:24-cv-00410. Visual effects company Digital Domain filed an insurance coverage lawsuit against Continental Casualty and CNA Financial in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County. The suit, brought by Lavely & Singer, seeks defense and indemnification in four underlying lawsuits brought by Rearden LLC against the plaintiff’s clients Disney, Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox. The underlying lawsuits pursue intellectual property claims based on alleged use of Rearden’s motion-capture technology. The complaint alleges that the defendants denied coverage on the grounds that the plaintiff should have anticipated litigation and disclosed pertinent facts in its insurance application. The case is DD Holdings US LLC v. Continental Casualty Co. Vox Media, a digital media company based in Washington D.C., and other defendants were slapped with a defamation lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court in connection with an article alleging sexual assault. The lawsuit was filed by Carter Ledyard & Milburn on behalf of Philharmonic musician Liang Wang, who accuses the defendants of publishing an article implying that he put a date rape drug in the wine of another musician so that one of his fellow bandmates could sexually assault her. Wang states that the defendants knew what they published was false given that the information in the documents they relied on for the story is inconsistent with the claims made in the article. The case is Wang v. Sussman, 1:24-cv-03987. Manhead LLC, the tour retailer for country singer Lainey Wilson, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Tennessee Middle District Federal Court pertaining to performances at the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville in May and June. The lawsuit, brought by Miller Legal Partners and Hicks, Mims, Kaplan, Burns & Garretson, sought to enjoin “bootleggers” from selling counterfeit concert merchandise in the vicinity of the venue. The case is Manhead LLC v. Various John Does, 3:24-cv-00638. The U.S. Department of Justice, 29 states and the District of Columbia has sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster in New York Southern District Federal Court over alleged antitrust violations. According to the complaint, Live Nation has created a monopoly in the ticket sector by making venues sign long-term exclusive agreements that are designed to lock out competition by blocking venues from using multiple ticket providers. The complaint also contends that Live Nation has strategically acquired promoters, venues and festivals to eliminate rivals and expand its network. The suit seeks a jury trial and to break up the company. The case is United States v. Live Nation Entertainment Inc., 1:24-cv-03973. Toho Co. has filed a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit in Illinois Northern District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, pursues claims against unidentified online retailers for allegedly selling goods that infringe upon the “Godzilla” trademarks. The case is Toho Co. Ltd. v. The Individuals, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations Identified on Schedule A Hereto, 1:24-cv-04245. Warner Bros. Entertainment was named in a complaint for declaratory relief in California Central District Federal in connection with sound recordings related to the Harry Potter franchise. The court action, brought by Clinton & Peed and Seals Phillips LLP on behalf of the Production Pit Ltd. (TPP), accuses Warner of authorizing numerous third parties to copy and use TPP’s “Sorting Hat” character voice sound recordings without TPP’s permission. The suit seeks to declare that TPP owns all copyright rights in the recordings and to enjoin the defendant from reproducing, distributing, publicly performing or creating any derivative works based on the recordings. The case is The Production Pit Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., 5:24-cv-01097. Revolution Thinking and Tim Thompson were slapped with a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit in Oregon District Federal Court. The court action, brought by Kolisch Hartwell PC on behalf of Joel Pilger Moving Pictures and J. Joel Pilger, accuses the defendants of copying and displaying the plaintiffs’ copyrighted media bearing Pilger’s marks and likeness beyond the termination of a license agreement. The case is Joel Pilger Moving Pictures LLC v. Revolution Thinking Inc., 1:24-cv-00831. Sony Music Entertainment filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in New York Supreme Court, New York County, alleging over $3 million owed pursuant to a settlement agreement. The court action, brought by Oppenheim + Zebrak, targets short-form, online video-service Triller Corp. and claims that the settlement agreement was formed after a court made a judgment in Sony’s favor in an underlying action that stemmed from the defendant’s failure to pay for contractual licensing fees and unauthorized use of sound recordings. The complaint further states that this is the second time in less than two years Sony has sued due to the defendant’s continuing refusal to pay. The case is Sony Music Entertainment v. Triller Platform Corp. Level 21 Media has been sued for copyright infringement in North Carolina Western District Federal Court. The lawsuit, filed by Sanders Law Group on behalf of Chosen Figure LLC, accuses the defendant of displaying an image on its website of musician Rihanna wearing a mask and puffer jacket alongside her husband. The case is Chosen Figure LLC v. Level 21 Media LLC, 3:24-cv-00496. BBC Studios has filed a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit in Illinois Northern District Federal Court. The suit, filed by Greer, Burns & Crain, pursues claims against unidentified e-commerce operators over the alleged sale of counterfeit goods for the children’s series Bluey. The case is BBC Studios Distribution Ltd v. The Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations Identified on Schedule A, 1:24-cv-04182. Bizarre Academia, a video-game developer, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Northern District Federal Court. The court action, brought by Morrison Cooper LLP, targets Noah Wolf for allegedly producing a derivative of the plaintiff’s Da Hood game by copying and reproducing it without consent. The case is Bizarre Academia LLC v. Wolf, 3:24-cv-03058. Costume designer Kristi Marie Hoffman, who worked on the film Killers of the Flower Moon, sued Apple Studios, Jacqueline West and the Costume Designer’s Guild in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County. The suit contends that after Hoffman filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging race-based discrimination, the defendants retaliated by removing Hoffman’s credit as First Assistant Costume Designer from award nominations, then falsely suggesting in public statements that the costume design work was largely the product of West and film consultant Julie O’Keefe. The suit was filed by Katie Charleston Law. The case is Hoffman v. West. Live Nation Entertainment and other defendants have been sued in a personal injury lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, New York County. The court action was brought by Morgan & Morgan on behalf of Brian Boxley, who contends that he sustained injuries at a Blink-182 concert due to the defendants’ failure to provide adequate security and crowd control. The case is Brian Boxley v. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. NBC Universal, Run-DMC Brand LLC and other defendants were sued for copyright infringement in New York Southern District Federal Court. The lawsuit was filed by Mazzola Lindstrom LLP on behalf of photographer Ferrin Green a/k/a Ricky Shoebio and Know Your Dope LLC. The suit accuses the defendants of copying and reusing eight of the plaintiff’s photographs of hip-hop group Run-DMC in the documentary series Kings From Queens without authorization or permission. The case is Green v. Run-DMC Brand, LLC, 1:24-cv-03900. Spotify was hit with a copyright lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court. The complaint, which seeks to recover statutory unpaid music royalties and late fees, was brought on behalf of Mechanical Licensing Collective, the non-profit organization designated by the Register of Copyrights under the Music Modernization Act to collect songwriters and music-publisher statutory mechanical royalties. According to the suit, Spotify, a blanket-license holder, is permitted to offer tens of millions of musical works on an on-demand basis, which is usually provided via subscription offerings. The suit contends that Spotify unilaterally and unlawfully reduced its reported service provider revenue for Premium accounts by almost 50% by improperly characterizing the service as a different type of subscription offering, a “bundled subscription offering” that includes audiobooks, and underpaying royalties. The suit is backed by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The case is Mechanical Licensing Collective v. Spotify USA Inc., 1:24-cv-03809. Round Hill Music Royalty Fund II was hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit in New York Southern District Federal Court. The court action, brought by Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt on behalf of Zync Music Group, accuses the defendant of continuing to use the plaintiff’s “Zync” mark beyond the termination of a licensing agreement. Furthermore, the suit contends that Round Hill failed to pay the plaintiff its contractual share of net annual revenue pursuant to a joint tenancy agreement. The case is Zync Music Group LLC v. Round Hill Music Royalty Fund II LP, 1:24-cv-03664. Activision Blizzard, the publisher of video games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, filed a petition in Delaware Court of Chancery seeking to validate the company’s $68.7 billion merger with Microsoft. The filing arose from an opinion issued by the court on Feb. 29 stating that Activision’s board had failed to approve a “complete version” of the merger agreement. The recent suit was filed by Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The case is In re Activision Blizzard Inc., 2024-0466. Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, members of Catalan heritage band Gipsy Kings, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Florida Southern District Federal Court. The suit, brought by Wolfe Law Miami, accuses Igel Technology Corp. of falsely advertising on its website that Gipsy Kings were set to perform at its “Igel Disrupt 24” event in Hollywood, FL. The suit contends that the advertisements incorrectly list Pablo Reyes as the founding member of the Gipsy Kings and pursues claims against Igel for its ongoing use of the “Gipsy King” mark despite there being a mysterious third party that was scheduled to perform under the mark. The case is Reyes v. Igel Technology Corp., 1:24-cv-21650.

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