Copyrights

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”.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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.

Read More

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!

Read More

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. 

Read More

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,

Read More

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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,

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

“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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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?  

Read More

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.  

Read More

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,

Read More

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! 

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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).

Read More

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,

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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,

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

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.

Read More

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,

Read More

“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.

Read More

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.  

Read More

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,

Read More

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?

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.   

Read More

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,

Read More