Spider-Man Swings to Supreme Court

spider web, by flickr user cybershot dude, licensed by Creative Commons

Trapped in a web

If you are a child during the holiday season, there may be no better gift than a brand new Spider-Man toy. However, it appears that a trademark lawsuit may keep some Marvel merchandise off the shelves. A man named Stephen Kimble invented a toy glove that fires silly string, allowing kids to pretend they are the web-slinging hero Spider-Man. Marvel bought the idea and had been paying Kimble royalties from sales, until his patent on the idea ran out. Furious, the inventor filed a lawsuit to overturn a 50-year-old Supreme Court ruling about expiring patents, seemingly forcing Spider-Man to trade in his red-and-blue spandex for a suit and tie. Read more

Satellite Radio Has Serious Problems

Rocktail Beach Camp KZN, by flickr user Jolene Bertoldi, licensed by Creative Commons.

“God I love being a turtle.”

Contrary to popular belief, music is never really free; just ask a musician. The satellite radio company Sirius XM was sued over copyright and trademark laws by a 1960s band called The Turtles. With the passing of federal copyright protection for recorded music in 1972, the royalties for music made before that date have been a hot button issue. The band claims that its’ music was broadcast on satellite radio without any compensation or consent from the creators. A series of lawsuits were filed against both Sirius XM and Pandora Media in New York, Florida, and California, with the band seeking about $100mm worth of damages. Read more

Slip Up: Banana Lady’s Lawsuits Bear No Fruit

bananas

Crazy? More like going bananas.

Catherine Conrad makes a living as an inspirational speaker, personal motivator, and also delivers singing telegrams dressed in a banana suit.  After several incident with clients which ended up in Ms. Conrad filing multiple lawsuits, it seems the U.S. District Courts have had enough.  A recent ruling against the Wisconsin-native claims that although those who receive the banana-grams take pictures and videos, Catherine has no copyright claim over the over-sized, yellow costume. Previously, she had filed infringement lawsuits of anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000.  A jurist recently declared that her accusations and demands were “without merit” and an “abuse of the legal process”. Read more

Copyright Case: Who Owns “Happy Birthday”?

Happy Birthday

Time to blow out the candles

Thinking of video taping that special someone’s Birthday festivities? Not so fast… You may be documenting an unfolding crime. Unbeknownst to myself and the general public, you could potentially be treading the line of infringing upon United States Copyright Law. As soon as the widely believed “timeless classic”, “Happy Birthday to You” ballad escapes your lips you are leaving yourself susceptible to civil lawsuit by the copyright holder; in this case, Warner/Chappell Music Inc. To prevent one’s self from running afoul of the law one must pay the $1500 licensing fee imposed by Warner/Chappell Music Inc.

Read more

Bieber Fever: Star Named in Copyright Lawsuit

music notes 3 by flickr user emilyamimu, licensed by Creative Commons

You said you would always be mine

Just like the common cold, pretty much everyone has had Bieber fever, but apparently people are immune to the epidemic. Two songwriters, Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Virginia against the pop star. Justin Beiber and Usher are facing a $10 million lawsuit for supposedly stealing song “Somebody to Love.” Back in 2009, Copeland and Overton claim that “Somebody To Love” was presented to Usher and Jonetta Patton, Usher’s mother, who also plays the role of his manager from time to time, by music scouts. They state that copy was never returned and that they never heard back from Jonetta or anyone associated with the company. Read more