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October 30, 2012
In a battle pitting copyright owners against consumers and retailers, the Supreme Court heard a case Monday that could decide how much control manufacturers can exert over their products after they've been sold. At issue is whether the "first sale" doctrine - which lets people who buy copyrighted works resell, rent or donate them as they please - applies to goods made outside the United States and then imported into the country. If it doesn't, that could spell trouble not just for "gray market" retailers - who buy products in foreign countries at a discount, then resell them here - but also for libraries, second-hand stores, used-car dealers and others who lend or resell imported goods.
September 11, 2012 | By Chris Barton
When you think of a certain classic rock album released in 1967 with a bright yellow illustration of a banana on the cover, what name comes to mind: Andy Warhol or the Velvet Underground? That's one of the questions essentially at the root of a lawsuit brought by the influential band founded by Lou Reed and John Cale, which accused the Andy Warhol Foundation of Visual Arts of violating its copyright when it consented to the iconic image being used without the band's permission on a planned line of iPhone and iPad accessories.
August 19, 2012 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - First there were four of them, lined up against the subway platform wall. Then five, then six, then 11 - all of them blind, all with retractable canes, all with bulging backpacks strapped to their torsos. Socorro Jimenez was among them, waiting her turn. The unwritten rule is one per train. Soon, hers came. This is how it always works on mornings such as this one: Few of the strap-hanging housekeepers or half-asleep students or impassive office workers will pay much mind to the 55-year-old, or her cane, or her nondescript black backpack.
August 17, 2012 | By Greg Braxton
CBS has dropped its copyright infringement lawsuit againstABC's reality series "The Glass House," which the network had contended was a close copy of its"Big Brother" reality show. Executives maintained the low rating of "Glass House" made the suit unnecessary. "The viewers have spoken and delivered the ultimate form of justice against 'The Glass House,' " said the statement from CBS. "As a result, we filed in federal court this morning a voluntary dismissal without prejudice of our claims against ABC. " However, CBS left open the door for further legal action: "We reserve the right to re-file this claim against ABC/"The Glass House" or any other entity, that goes to such shocking lengths to duplicate our copyright material.
August 11, 2012 | By Alex Pham and Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
Hoping to mollify its entertainment industry critics,Google tweaking its search engine to penalize websites suspected of hosting pirated music, videos, games and other copyrighted content. The change was viewed as a concession to movie studios, music labels and television companies that have tried to lobby, cajole and, in some cases, sue Google into helping them shut down online piracy. In most of these cases, Google has argued that its role is to help consumers find information they need on the Web, not to police Internet piracy.
August 11, 2012 | By Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times
A federal judge rejected a novel legal argument Friday that would have allowed Michael Jackson's mother and her business partner to profit from a line of merchandise separate from the late star's estate. In a 15-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson granted summary judgment in a copyright infringement case brought by the executors of Jackson's estate and issued a permanent injunction barring Canadian entrepreneur Howard Mann from trading on the singer's name. "There is undisputed evidence that Defendants intended in bad faith to profit from use of Jackson's name, by registering multiple domain names containing his name or the initials 'MJ' to sell Jackson-related products," the judge wrote.
August 4, 2012 | By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
It can be a dog-eat-dog world in social games. Electronic Arts Inc. on Friday filed a copyright infringement suit against Zynga Inc., alleging that the social gaming company's "The Ville" misappropriated EA's game "The Sims Social. " EA's lawsuit was just the latest in a string of bad news for Zynga. The San Francisco social gaming company was hit Monday with a shareholder lawsuit claiming that Zynga investors and executives — including its chief executive, Mark Pincus — had improperly cashed out $516 million in company stock in April, three months before Zynga posted disappointing earnings that sent its shares plummeting 37% in one day. In a blog post explaining EA's lawsuit, Lucy Bradshaw, head of Maxis, the EA-owned studio that created "Sims Social," outlined why EA contends that Zynga "ripped off" its intellectual property.
July 14, 2012 | By Jon Healey
This post has been updated and corrected, as indicated below. The entertainment industry may not adapt swiftly to the technology people use to acquire and enjoy media, but its lawyers certainly do. It took the music industry a matter of weeks to sue Napster, the pioneering online file-sharing site. And since then, each successive iteration of mass-scale infringement has drawn lawsuits, from distributed file-sharing platforms such as Kazaa to newsgroup indexes such as Newzbin to Bit Torrent sites such as the Pirate Bay and to online locker services such as RapidShare . Federal enforcers are not so nimble, but they've been gradually expanding their efforts from direct infringers to enablers.
July 11, 2012 | By August Brown
The Pittsburgh MC Mac Miller is one of the most polarizing figures in rap music, selling reams of records to his college-age peers but loathed by many serious genre fans . Now he can add a new name to his enemies' list -- the Bronx MC Lord Finesse, who Miller sampled on a 2010 mixtape track, "Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza. " Miller has openly cited Finesse as a major influence, and he heavily sampled the MC-producer's 1995 track "Hip 2 Da Game" for a track off Miller's free 2010 mixtape "K.I.D.S.
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