“Happy Together” - The Ninth Circuit Plays the Golden Oldies of Copyright Law

by James Kachmar

Calling it a “ball of confusion,” the Ninth Circuit recently considered a case involving the music of the Turtles, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and whether royalties are owed under California copyright law for music dating prior to 1972. In doing so, the Ninth Circuit reviewed nearly 200 years of copyright law to reach its conclusion.

In a lawsuit that was originally filed in 2013 titled, Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio,

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26 Weintraub Tobin Attorneys Included in Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers List 2021

Weintraub Tobin is pleased to announce that 26 of its attorneys have been recognized as 2021 Top Lawyers by Sacramento Magazine, including 8 attorneys recognized in multiple practices. Voting for Top Lawyers was managed by Professional Research Services and was open to all licensed attorneys in Sacramento. Voters were asked which of their peers they would recommend among 53 legal specialties, and the list reflects attorneys who received the highest number of votes in each specialty.

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The Briefing - Bonus Olympic Episode: IOC Gets Gold in Trademark Enforcement

by Josh H. Escovedo, Scott M. Hervey
The IP Law Blog

In this bonus episode of the Briefing by the IP Law Blog, Scott Hervey and Josh Escovedo discuss the stringent trademark enforcement protection for Olympic symbols, words, and phrases as well as recent lawsuits that have reinforced that protection.

Lawsuits discussed:
San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v United States Olympic Committee
USOPC v Puma

Watch the video of this episode on YouTube,

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Taylor Swift Keeps Fighting the 'Players' and the 'Haters'

by Jessica R. Corpuz
The IP Law Blog

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, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate.”  In 2014, Taylor Swift released “Shake It Off,” which included the lyrics “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play,

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The Briefing - Andy Warhol's Prince Prints: Not Fair Use!? (Part One)

by Scott M. Hervey, Josh H. Escovedo
The IP Law Blog

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, the photographer whose image Warhol used to create the Prince Portraits, and the holding that Warhol’s renditions were not transformative enough to be fair use. The decision overturned a lower court decision in favor of the Warhol Foundation.

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Supreme Court Finds PTAB Judges Unconstitutional

by Eric Caligiuri
The IP Law Blog

5-4 Opinion Offers Judicial Workaround by Giving More Oversight to the USPTO Director

In U.S. v. Arthrex, case number 19-1434; Smith & Nephew v. Arthrex, case number 19-1452; and Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, case number 19-1458, the Supreme Court of the United States recently held that Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges are unconstitutionally appointed.  But, the Court also held that providing the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with more oversight over PTAB rulings will remedy the unconstitutionality of the PTAB judges.

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I See Dead People...Filing Lawsuits in New York

by Scott M. Hervey
The IP Law Blog

New York’s post mortem right-of-publicity statute recently came into effect.  Its previous right-of-publicity laws were an extension of its statutory right of privacy which provided that “any person whose name [or likeness] is used within [New York] for advertising [or trade] purposes without . . . written consent” can sue for an injunction and damages.  Because the statute addressed privacy concerns that dissipated at death, such rights did not extend post mortem.  New York courts have held that because the state’s law affords no common law right of publicity – the statutory grant is exclusive.

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Instagram Faces Claims That It Encouraged Media Companies to Illegally Embed Images Posted to Instagram by Users

by Jessica R. Corpuz
The IP Law Blog

We recently wrote about a case in the Southern District of New York against Mashable relating to the embedding of content from social media platforms like Instagram.  In that case, the court held that Instagram’s terms of use (which were accepted by the plaintiff, a photographer, when he created an Instagram account) were insufficiently clear to allow Mashable to escape liability for publishing Instagram content through the process of embedding.  Thereafter, the parties settled out of court. 

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Beer: You Know It When You Taste It, Or Maybe Not

by Jo Dale Carothers, Ph.D.
The IP Law Blog

Hard seltzer first hit the marketplace about five years ago and rapidly grew in popularity with sales exceeding $4.5 billion in 2020.  Wanting to ride the wave of success, many companies have introduced hard seltzers into this now crowded space.  But what is a hard seltzer?  Is it a form of beer or something else?  Based on its popularity, most would say, “Who cares whether hard seltzer is beer, just give me one.”  However, Modelo Grupo (“Modelo”) and Constellation Brands (“Constellation”) would say there is a lot riding on the answer.

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