Led Zeppelin Loses First Round in Lawsuit

Nichole Kazimirovicz : October 21, 2014 2:25 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMETAfeed

Led Zeppelin Loses First Round of 'Stairway to Heaven' Plagiarism Lawsuit - US NewsAs some of you may already know, Led Zeppelin is being accused of copyright infringement.  The accusation is that the iconic song “Stairway to Heaven” stole the cords from a Spirit song.  Led Zeppelin lost round one of the law suit yesterday when they tried to challenge the lawsuit on grounds of jurisdiction, arguing that they had no ties to Pennsylvania and as such the Pennsylvania District Court didn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case.  The motion was denied by Pennsylvania District Court Judge Juan Sánchez with prejudice.

Read more about the lawsuit and the motion to dismiss here– Led Zeppelin Loses First Round of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Plagiarism Lawsuit – US News.

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Red Bull May Not Give You Wings…Apparently

Geoffrey Mcaleenan : October 20, 2014 9:17 pm : BeyondMediaMETAfeed

redbull-wingsEver heard the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings?” Many of us, hopefully, realize that the drink will not cause you to literally grow wings. But, according to Red Bull, downing the beverage will enhance consumers’ mental acuity and physical endurance, which might be due to the large quantity of stimulants and sugar in each can. However, some folks felt like the product didn’t deliver, and they filed a class action law suit against Red Bull for false advertising, which resulted in a $13 million settlement. The  plaintiffs argued that no scientific evidence verified that the energy drink increased either mental or physical performance, making Red Bull’s ads false and misleading.

What do you think about this lawsuit and the resulting settlement? Did plaintiffs really have a case, or was Red Bull engaging in some harmless puffery?



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Hasbro Claims Copyright to Scrabble Dictionary/Word Lists

Nickolas Galendez : October 16, 2014 5:41 pm : METAfeed


Hasbro Inc., the owner of the copyright to numerous popular board games—Battleship, Candy Land, and Monopoly, to name a few—claims that it owns dictionary words! More specifically, Hasbro says that the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and the Official Tournament and Club Word List, both published by Merriam-Webster, are protected by copyright law as original works of authorship. In sum, Hasbro dislikes the fact that Scrabble players have been disseminating and using these materials via certain online Scrabble computer programs without first obtaining (and paying for) a license.

As factual compilations (Scrabble-accepted dictionary words and their assigned point totals), do the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and the Official Tournament and Club Word List possess the requisite originality to qualify for copyright protection under Feist? Read more on this issue here!

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Nike Files Trademark Lawsuit Against 31 Companies Allegedly Infringing Iconic Chuck Taylor Trademark

Matthew Peterson : October 15, 2014 4:43 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeed

converse-chuck-taylor-all-stars_1Nike is tired of the kids these days wearing “off-brand” Chuck Taylor’s, and has decided to take the matter into its own hands. The design of the Chuck Taylor Sneaker, originally made popular by Converse, was purchased by Nike in 2003 after Converse entered bankruptcy. Since then, numerous companies have produced models to emulate the iconic shoe. Accordingly, Nike has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, Ed Hardy, Ralph Lauren, and 28 others, alleging that each company has violated the Chuck Taylor trademark. Judge for yourself, or read more here.

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Do I Have Internet Addiction?

Garrett Busch : October 14, 2014 9:28 pm : Arts & EntertainmentMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

Internet Addiction

I think most anyone finding their way to this blog could probably admit that at least once or twice they’ve spent a little too much time watching videos on YouTube, creeping on Facebook, or doing virtually anything they could to avoid actually being productive. Some of us may be spending more time doing these things than others, but…internet addiction? The age of the smart phone has made endless time spent on the web easier and easier, but at some point, a smart phone user just has to put the phone down. Realizing that some people out there may never want to disconnect, a short time ago Google came up with something new. Enter Google Glass.

Google Glass allows a user to dive head first into the web and truly live a permanently connected life. While I’ve never used Google Glass myself, the glasses allow a wearer to essentially have the equivalent of their cell phone (plus and minus a few specifics) right in front of their eyes all the time. This level of access to the web may have finally become too much for one Google Glass using member of the United States Navy. After checking into rehab for alcoholism, this serviceman had to give up his electronic devices, and that is when the symptoms of withdrawal set in. After extensive use of Google Glass on the job, once deprived of the device he continued to tap his temple as though he was turning the head’s up display on, became irritable, and even had dreams as though he were still wearing the glasses. While this clearly appears to be an extreme case of overuse, maybe it will be the signal some of us need to take a break for our increasingly connected lives.

Read more about the Navy serviceman’s story here: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/14/google-glass-user-treated-addiction-withdrawal-symptoms

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The Snappening

Nichole Kazimirovicz : October 11, 2014 11:18 am : Intellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

SnapchatWe were all shocked when Jennifer Lawrence among other celebrities had their cloud accounts hacked and pictures of them were leaked on the internet.  Now there’s a new wave of social media hacking and invasion of privacy.  A third-party Snapchat app was hacked giving the hackers 13GB of Snapchat pictures including pictures from teenagers (13-16 year olds).  They’re calling this hack “The Snappening.”  Once again, this proves that once it’s on the internet, it’s not really gone, not even if Snapchat says it’s deleted in 1-10 seconds.

Read more about it at… Snapchat Hacked: The Snappening – Business Insider.

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Live From New York! It’s… Stolen From Los Angeles?

Josh Beurer : October 8, 2014 12:52 am : METAfeed

Ian Gary, a teacher at the Groundlings in Los Angeles, is claiming thaTinaTurnert SNL “stole” one of their sketches in this past week’s episode featuring Sarah Silverman. Both sketches involve Tina Turner impersonators performing “Proud Mary” on a cruise ship where they interject the song with musings on the pathetic aspects of their own personal lives. Even though there is no impending legal action, this example poses several interesting copyright questions. Where do we delineate the idea/expression dichotomy? Tina 1412711619993_Image_galleryImage_Tina_TurnerTurner is a public figure with an iconic look. Is it really that suspicious to see similar sketches featuring Tina Turner that were created independently of each other? The improv community is made up of a network of artists that are all responding to the same stimuli from the Zeitgeist. Would increased copyright sensitivity help or hurt the success of the medium? Furthermore, improv theatre involves an inherent amount of spontaneity. Each performance is different, and without some type of audiovisual fixation, it would be virtually impossible to secure a copyright in the first place. Read more about it here.

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Aunt Jemima Trademark Back On The Griddle

Josh Beurer : October 8, 2014 12:17 am : METAfeed

hdrAunt_Jemima_logoAunt Jemima’s warm smile has graced the boxes of our self-rising pancake mix for over a century. But heirs of the brand’s original models are now suing Quaker Oats, claiming that that the brand was built upon the exploitation of their ancestors’ likenesses and that they were never compensated for their contributions to the original recipe. Aunt Jemima is often criticized for epitomizing the southern “Mammie” – an amalgamation of racist stereotypes commonly attributed to black women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With all the recent issues concerning trademark law and racial insensitivity, if these women’s rights to publicity are found at the root of this controversy, it could mean big changes for the iconic brand. Read more about it here.

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Upcoming Beer Documentary May Prove Enlightening

Geoffrey Mcaleenan : October 7, 2014 2:01 pm : Arts & EntertainmentBeyondMETAfeed

l85157-2-2For those who have followed my posts, you might have guessed that I am passionate about craft beer. In law school, I’ve come to understand how much law is actually involved in craft beer, from state and local laws, to international trademark disputes and trade secret violations, and you can throw in some corporate law and quite a bit of licensing too. This is a tightly regulated industry, and it’s particularly important because the craft beer market is expanding across the U.S., and it’s doing wonders for Michigan’s economy. If you want to brush up on this industry, then I’d recommend keeping an eye out for an upcoming documentary detailing some of these exact issues. For the record, I have zero involvement in this project, and I don’t know anyone involved in its production. My interest in it is purely intellectual, and, judging from the trailer, I think that this film will provide some revealing information about this booming industry.

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United Kingdom Copyright Law Expanded

Jennifer Manns : September 30, 2014 5:07 pm : METAfeed

As of this week, people in the United Kingdom will now have access to greater protection under copyright law for parody and mash-up works. The previous state of copyright law up to this point required a parodist to obtain permission from the owner of an original work or use a small amount of the original material without permission. The amount of material that could be used without permission had to be consistent with “fair dealing,” or reasonable, fair, and limited amounts of material for the purpose of a critique, review, or news report.

See for UK Copyright Use Guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315025/copyright-guidance-creatorsowners.pdf

The new exception will permit parodies and mash-ups of works under the law, provided that a judge determines that they are humorous. This change leaves much up to the discretion and sense of humor of a judge, but could open the door to more legal uses copyrighted works for the purposes of parody. Parodists in the UK, however, remain vulnerable to UK moral rights under which the creator of an original work can sue the creator of a parody for the degradation of their work.

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