Weintraub’s copyright attorneys advise clients on a wide range of issues including copyright registration, assignment, licensing, and strategy. Our experienced attorneys also handle a broad scope of copyright litigation, from representing copyright owners whose works have been infringed to defending those accused of copyright infringement.
To that end, Weintraub copyright attorneys are intently involved in the complex issues surrounding computer software and the high-tech industry, including issues relating to the scope of copyright protection, enforcement, acquisition, and licensing. Weintraub has also represented and advised clients in licensing and litigation matters relating to copyright protection for a wide variety of commercial items such as toys, electronics, and educational materials.
Weintraub brings extensive experience protecting copyrighted works for the entertainment industry, including protecting literary works, television and film works, visual artwork, video games, sound recordings, and multimedia products. We represent clients from industries such as television, film, music, publishing, websites, video games, and software. The firm has assisted clients in all forms of media and copyrightable works, including digital content, audiovisual presentations, software, film, literature, images, photography, and recorded music and sounds.
We register copyrights, expedite applications, record documents, and perform title searches. We also draft and negotiate agreements involving copyrighted works, including joint-development agreements, licenses, assignments, rights clearance, and distribution agreements. We advise on copyrightability, fair use, infringement, ownership and title, notice, security interests, and foreign protection. We have extensive experience in social media and other on-line issues and guide our clients through constantly changing best practices in this field.
Our services include:
- Preparing and negotiating licenses and transfers, including for software and entertainment content
- Litigation of copyright infringement cases
- Copyright registration and protection
- Fair use, open source counseling, and other software related issues
- Ownership and work-made-for-hire counseling
- Derivative works, distribution, and public performance rights
- Copyright issues in commercial transactions
Jo Dale Carothers Quoted in Law360
Jo Dale Carothers was recently quoted in a Law360 article after a recent Precendential Opinion Panel decision for patent petitions for inter partes review (IPR) on whether copyright and ISBN are sufficient evidence for printed reference material as having been “publicly available”.
Weintraub Tobin Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in San Diego Super Lawyers/Rising Stars® 2019 List
Weintraub is pleased to announce that Jo Dale Carothers has been recognized as a 2019 San Diego Super Lawyer and Eric Caligiuri as a 2019 Rising Star. Jo Dale Carothers is a shareholder and chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property group.
Taylor Swift Keeps Fighting the ‘Players’ and the ‘Haters’
In December 2019, Scott Hervey wrote about the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift by the writers of the song “Playas Gon’ Play.” The song was released by the girl group 3LW in 2001 and included the lyrics “Playa,
The Briefing – Space Erotica Flick Not Infringed by Black Mirror
This week on The Briefing by the IP Law Blog, Scott Hervey and Josh Escovedo discuss the copyright lawsuit over a Black Mirror episode starring Miley Cyrus, the plot of which filmmaker Geoffrey Blair Hajim said was lifted from his film “Strange Frame: Love and Sax.”
Don’t Film So Close To Me: Can Copyrighted Music Keep Vids of Police Encounters Off The Internet?
Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of news articles and stories about police officers playing popular music during a citizen/officer interaction that is being filmed by the citizen.
The Briefing – Andy Warhol’s Prince Prints: Not Fair Use!? (Part Two)
In this week’s episode, Josh Escovedo and Scott Hervey discuss an update to the litigation over Andy Warhol’s series of portraits of the artist Prince (Andy Warhol Foundation v Goldsmith). They provide a recap of last week’s episode,
The Briefing – Andy Warhol’s Prince Prints: Not Fair Use!? (Part One)
In this week’s episode, Josh Escovedo and Scott Hervey discuss the litigation over Andy Warhol’s series of portraits of the artist Prince (Andy Warhol Foundation v Goldsmith). Their discussion covers the Second Circuit decision in favor of Goldsmith,
Instagram Faces Claims That It Encouraged Media Companies to Illegally Embed Images Posted to Instagram by Users
Is the Best Defense to a Copyright Infringement Claim No Defense at All?
We recently discussed a new trend in celebrity copyright litigation on our YouTube channel and podcast (The Briefing on YouTube). Specifically, we discussed celebrities taking a stand and defending copyright claims brought by photographers against celebrities who reposted photos on their social media accounts.
Supreme Court Update: SCOTUS Denies Review of Two Highly Watched IP Cases
The Supreme Court recently denied petitions for certiorari in two of the most highly watched intellectual property cases before the Court. Those cases were Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc. v. VIP Products LLC and The Moodsters Company v.
Empire Copyright Litigation
Weintraub Tobin IP attorneys Scott Hervey and Josh Escovedo discuss the copyright dispute over the TV show “Empire,” Jon Astor-White v. Daniel Strong.
“Birds of a Feather” – The Ninth Circuit Confronts “Single Unit of Publication” Copyright Issue
Unicolors, Inc. creates and markets artistic design fabrics to various garment manufacturers. Some of these designs are marketed to the public and placed in its showroom while other designs are considered “confined” works that Unicolor sells to certain customers.
Inside Out: The Ninth Circuit Holds The Moodsters are No Batman
(This article was republished with permission by ABA Business Law Today on 6/2/2020, available here.) Certain literary or graphic characters may, in some cases, enjoy copyright protection. Think James Bond –
Burbank High School Jumps with Glee over Copyright Victory
Burbank High School runs a music program that reportedly provided the inspiration for the hit TV show, Glee. It is nationally known for the competitive show choirs its students participate in as part of the program.
Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Deadlines Extended Due to COVID-19
On March 31, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that, pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, certain deadlines for patent and trademark applications would be extended.
SCOTUS Rules That North Carolina is Protected from Copyright Infringement Claims by Sovereign Immunity
The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the state government is free to infringe copyrights without fear of retribution. In Allen v. Cooper, the Supreme Court decided whether the state of North Carolina could be held liable under the Copyright Act for infringing filmmaker Frederick Allen’s copyright relating to Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Lil Nas X Takes His Horse to the Old Town Road and Moves to Dismiss Producers’ Copyright Infringement Action Concerning “Rodeo”
Lil Nas X broke onto the scene in spectacular fashion when he released the viral sensation “Old Town Road,” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. Old Town Road broke the prior record for most consecutive weeks at No.
Is a Copyright Notice Sufficient Evidence a Textbook Is a Printed Publication for Institution of Inter Partes Review?
To use a textbook or other reference to challenge the validity of a patent in a petition for inter partes review (“IPR”), the textbook must have been “publicly accessible” prior to the date of the challenged patent to qualify as a printed publication.
Disney Seeks to Stop the Rise of Infringing Baby Yoda Goods on Etsy
When Disney chose to delay the production and release of merchandise related to The Child—commonly referred to as Baby Yoda—from its hit series, The Mandalorian, it created a significant opportunity for unlicensed fans to create and sell such merchandise.
Player/Haters May Be Original Afterall
In the early 2000’s, an all-girl band called 3LW performed a song called “Playas Gon’ Play,” which was written by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler. “Playas Gon’ Play” was initially released in May,
Order in Netflix Lawsuit is a Reminder of the Bounds of Copyright Protection
Virginia Vallejo, a well known Colombian journalist and media personality, authored the memoir “Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar”. The book is a factual account of her romantic relationship with Pablo Escobar and a chronicle of the rise of the Colombian drug cartel.
What Happens When the Intellectual Property Laws Clash with the Antitrust Laws?
Should a company be required to license its patents to a competitor? That’s one question that arises when intellectual property law and antitrust law intersect. The Sherman Act, section 1, prohibits concerted action (agreements,
Supreme Court Ruling In Pirate Ship Copyright Case Could Sink State Immunity
The Supreme Court is set to hear the case of Allen v. Cooper which addresses the constitutionality of the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (“CRCA”). The purpose of the CRCA is to abrogate sovereign immunity enjoyed by States and State actors under the Eleventh Amendment for claims of copyright infringement.
Dr. Seuss and Fair Use, What 20+ Years Will Do!
Over twenty years ago, the Ninth Circuit decided the case of Dr. Seuss Enterprises., LP v. Penguin Books USA, Inc. That case involved a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Dr. Seuss over a book entitled The Cat NOT in the Hat!
In-Game “Carlton Dance” Routine Triggers Lawsuit From Fresh Prince Actor Alfonso Ribeiro
Actors gain notoriety for different reasons. For some, it’s due to a physical characteristic or an iconic character portrayal. For Alfonso Ribeiro, it’s a dance. The dance, which has become known worldwide as the “Carlton Dance,” is a corny dance number performed by Ribeiro’s character Carlton Banks on the 90’s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” That dance is now the center of a copyright infringement lawsuit Ribeiro filed against Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive.
Royalties, Preemption and Attorney’s Fees
The Ninth Circuit recently was called upon to decide awarding attorney’s fees in a case where artists were suing for unpaid royalties under the California Resale Royalties Act (“CRRA”). In the case,
Copyright Infringement and Third Party Software Support
A recent case out of the Ninth Circuit, Oracle USA, Inc. v. Rimini Street, Inc. (July 13, 2017), illustrates some of the risks third party software vendors run concerning copyright issues.
Call it what you want. Just don’t call it copyright infringement.
A demand letter is a formal way of telling someone, “now we got bad blood.” Recently, a Northern California blogger received a demand letter in which Taylor Swift threatened to sue the blogger.
Say Cheese: Stock Photos, Non-Exclusivity & Copyright Infringement
The Ninth Circuit recently addressed an issue as to who may pursue claims for copyright infringement concerning stock photos in the case DRK Photo v. McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC, et al.
Diddy’s @Infringement Instagram Post
In today’s age of rapid fire social media, posting to feed the ever growing hunger of a digitally connected audience has become second nature to celebrities and other influencers. In fact,
When is Making a Movie Not an Act of Free Speech?
I admit that the title of this article may be a bit deceiving. Making films, like any other production of art, is almost always an act of free speech. However, the Ninth Circuit was recently faced with a dilemma of determining this issue in connection with an anti-SLAPP motion brought against a screen writer who claimed that the defendants had failed to pay him for using his idea to make the film,
The Jury Is Still Out on What “Registration” Means Under Section 411 of the Copyright Act.
The Copyright Act provides that “Registration” of a copyright is a precondition to filing suit for copyright infringement. 17 U.S.C. § 411(a). We are still trying to figure out exactly when registration occurs.
Unauthorized Downloading and Copyright Infringement
Liability for copyright infringement can result when one downloads protected software without the copyright owner’s authorization. The Ninth Circuit was recently tasked with exploring the scope and reach of copyright protection in such cases in Design Data Corp.
Star Trek Fan Film Not Fair Use
Paramount and Star Trek Fan Film Producers Settle The copyright infringement lawsuit between Star Trek fan film producer, Axanar Productions, and Paramount Pictures came to an end less than two weeks before trial.
“It’s In The Game” – Proof Issues In Software Copyright Infringement Cases
A recent Ninth Circuit decision in Antonick v. Electronic Arts, Inc. (filed Nov. 22, 2016), shows some of the proof issues that a plaintiff may encounter in prosecuting claims for copyright infringement in connection with software.
Phasers Set to Stun – Star Trek and Fan Film Producers Trade Copyright Shots
Fan films and fan fiction ordinarily don’t end up being the subject of a federal court lawsuit. Most fan fiction are creative expressions reflecting adoration of a series, film or character and the majority of copyright owners take a permissive view of fan fiction.
How BREXIT Will Affect Intellectual Property
As everyone knows, in June, the United Kingdom passed the BREXIT referendum (driven by British voters), voting to exit the European Union. What affect does BREXIT have on intellectual property rights in the United Kingdom and the European Union?
Ninth Circuit Rejects Current Status of Music Sampling Copyright Infringement And Sets Circuit Split For The Supreme Court
On June 2, 2016 the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in a music sampling Copyright infringement case that sets up a split between the Ninth Circuit and the Sixth Circuit which will likely send the issue to the Supreme Court.
Tattoo Infringement Case Against NBA 2K Game Publisher Shows Misunderstanding of Applicability of Statutory Damages
This isn’t just another tattoo-copyright infringement case. This case raises an important lesson for all copyright claimants. The backstory: Solid Oak is a licensing firm that represents the go to tattoo artists for NBA royalty,
Are Pins, Posts, Tweets and Likes Appropriate for Use in Selecting Jurors?
When you hear the name of someone you can’t place or don’t know much about, what do you do? Chances are, you “Google” them. Well that is what attorneys are doing to learn more about prospective jurors too!
Disney’s Influence on United States Copyright Law
If you’ve ever applied for, or researched copyright law, you likely learned one thing above all else: it’s not a perpetual right. So, how, you might wonder, have companies like The Walt Disney Company managed to maintain copyrights on certain creations for almost 100 years?
Copyright Infringement and the First Sale Defense
The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in the case of Dolby Systems, Inc. v. Christenson, focuses primarily on the issue of which party bears the initial burden of proof with regard to a “first sale” defense in a copyright infringement action.
Don’t Get On the Wrong Side of Taylor Swift in a Copyright Case!
Taylor Swift has been in the news a lot over the last year or so. She is phenomenally successful. Her hit album “1989” concert tour was the highest grossing tour in the world in 2015 (over $250 million) and the highest grossing tour ever in North America (smashing the previous record held by the Rolling Stones’ 2005 tour).
When Copying is Not Copyright Infringement
A longstanding battle between Google and the authors of published books has been resolved (at least for now) in favor of Google. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held that Google’s use of copyrighted books in its Library Project and Google Books website,
ISPs That Ignore Notices From “Copyright Trolls” Risk Losing DMCA Safe Harbor Protections
Representing copyright owners attempting to enforce online infringement is often routine, but can sometimes prove challenging. This tends to be the case when a content owner is trying to address large scale infringement of one or multiple works.
Court Provides Fair Use Guidance On YouTuber’s Use of Viral Video
This copyright case pitted two big YouTube content brands against each other over issues of fair use. On one side is Equals Three, LLC, a YouTube content studio and channel created and owned by Ray William Johnson,
Yoga and the Copyright Idea/Expression Dichotomy
Over the last half century there has been an explosion in the popularity of yoga in the United States, much of it attributable to Bikram Choudhury, the self-proclaimed “Yogi to the Stars.” In 1979,
Patent Owners Beware: Don’t Sleep on Your Rights!
Laches, a judicially created defense based on the plaintiff’s delay and prejudice to the defendant, is a proper defense to the recovery of damages in a patent infringement suit, even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that laches does not apply in copyright infringement cases.
A Chicken Sandwich is Not Copyrightable – Really?
As reported in Law 360 and other outlets, the First Circuit has ruled that a chicken sandwich, no matter how amazingly delicious it may be, cannot be copyrighted. A Puerto Rican epicure named Norberto Lorenzana argued that he created the “Pechu Sandwich” which is “a fried chicken breast patty,
Will Lenz v. Universal Make Online Copyright Enforcement More Challenging for Copyright Owners
Pending before the 9th Circuit is a case which may change the landscape for online copyright protection. The case, Lenz v. Universal, may make it more difficult for copyright owners to protect against infringement in today’s environment of hyper infringement.
Richard Prince Once Again Pushes the Limits of Fair Use
By: Scott Hervey Prince is a practitioner of what has come to be known as “appropriation art,” that is, art – mainly visual art – that incorporates and utilizes third-party images and photographs,
“Desert Warrior” Vanquished: Google Defeats Cindy Lee Garcia’s Copyright Claims
By: Intellectual Property Group Cindy Lee Garcia thought she was playing a bit part in “Desert Warrior,” an adventure film being made by an amateur film maker. The film was never completed.
Live Streaming Apps Raise New/Old Copyright Concerns
By: Scott Hervey Periscope (owned by Twitter) and Meerkat are two new “live streaming” apps which allow users to live stream videos from their phones. These applications could potentially change the way live sporting or music events are broadcast or change the way news footage is gathered.
Brewing Up Some IP
By: Josh Escovedo With so many new microbreweries popping up in Sacramento, the Bay Area, and the Greater San Diego area, I felt compelled to write the present piece for the benefit of the aspiring,
The Left Shark, Katy Perry and Copyright Chum
By Scott Hervey What do you get when you take one shark costume, add a confused backup dancer, throw in Katy Perry and the Super Bowl halftime show and top it off with a satirical artist with a 3D printer?
Your Facebook Copyright Notice is More Annoying than Farmville
By: Intellectual Property Group If you use Facebook, you probably already have noticed that many users are posting statements claiming that Facebook somehow acquires ownership of users’ intellectual property that has been posted to that site.
Cambridge v. Becker – A Copyright Win For Publishers or an Enlargement of Fair Use?
By Scott Hervey Recently the 11th Circuit addressed on appeal the question of whether fair use insulates from copyright liability a University which offers to its students a digital repository of reading material culled from third party publications without the benefit of a license.
Funk, Copyrights, and Collecting Judgments
By James Kachmar Litigants know that obtaining a judgment against an adversary is only half the battle. Sometimes the efforts a litigant must expend to collect on that judgment are just as significant,