Tattoo Dispute Fades Away

Tattooed work of art

Much like painters or musicians, tattoo artists are creators in their own right.  However, are their inked canvases considered unique designs worthy of copyright protection?  Solid Oak Sketches seemed to think so, as the company filed a lawsuit against producers of NBA 2K video games, including Take-Two Interactive Software.  In 2016, the tattoo licensing firm accused NBA 2K of embodying athletes such as LeBron James, Eric Bledsoe, and Kenyon Martin with their real-life tattoos in the video games, without properly compensating the artists who tattooed them.  That lawsuit, initially filed in a Manhattan court, was just dismissed this month. Read more

Taylor Cannot Swiftly Escape This Lawsuit

Copying a song?

A 2017 copyright lawsuit in reference to Taylor Swift’s popular hit “Shake It Off” is going back down to the US District Court level for further proceedings.  Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler sued Swift for her lyric “players gonna play…haters gonna hate.”  According to Hall and Butler’s claim, Swift allegedly stole the line from a 2001 song they wrote entitled “Playas Gon’ Play” for the music group 3LW.  When the 2017 lawsuit was dismissed, a judge ruled that the original 2001 lyric was “too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act.”  A recent panel of three judges, however, disagreed with that reasoning, and were in favor of the plaintiffs’ appeal. Read more

Things Get Stranger: Man Sues Netflix

There’s a storm coming

Netflix has had tons of success in the last few years, rising from the ashes to become a technology powerhouse. The business model is a low cost, subscription-based service providing content to consumers who love their tv shows and movies. One of the most successful pieces of original content is the Netflix-original Stranger Things, a sci-fi / fantasy series about kids in the 1980s who experience (you guessed it) “strange things”. Even stranger is that the now famous images used to promote the show, which an ominous thunderstorm system moving through the clouds, allegedly infringes on a Montana photographer’s copyright. As such, he is taking Netflix to court and seeking damages regarding this misuse of his image. Read more

Claim on the Caribbean

Arghhh!

In a shocking lawsuit, an author claimed that Disney stole his idea in their film, Pirates of the Caribbean. In the film, the pirates transform into living skeletons under moonlight. This author failed at attempting to make billions when a federal judge ruled in Disney’s favor. Royce Matthew, the plaintiff in this suit, has failed several times in lawsuits regarding the wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbean films. His first lawsuit attempt dates back to 2005, promptly followed by a second attempt in 2006. The 2006 lawsuit was quelled when Disney revealed old “theme park art” that dated far beyond Royce Matthew’s claims. This art proved that Disney independently put forth the idea of “unique supernatural elements”. After this event, Matthew signed a release form.

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Spider-Man Swings to Supreme Court

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