Are Photographs of Utilitarian Objects Copyrightable?

Pohl v. MH Sub I, LLC d/b/a Officite (N.D.Fla., June 20, 2018) U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of the Northern District of Florida determined that no reasonable jury could find that a plaintiff-dentist’s before-and-after photos of his patient’s teeth are sufficiently creative or original to warrant copyright protection. On summary judgment, the court acknowledged that …

Monetize Your Meme: “Grumpy Cat” Wins Copyright and Trademark Verdict

For those unfamiliar, Grumpy Cat is a “viral meme” of a “stern-looking house cat named Tardar Sauce.”1 A former Time Warner cable technician first posted the photo of his sister’s “Grumpy Cat” on Reddit in September 2012.2 At least four copyright registrations and a trademark registration related to Grumpy Cat have been registered in the …

Bleeker Gives Insight on Valuation in Lundgren/Microsoft Copyright Case

Intellectual property partner, Warren Bleeker, was recently quoted in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal on the valuation associated in a copyright case involving the violation of Microsoft Corp.’s intellectual property rights. The case consisted of a felony-level counterfeiting scheme that saw the creation of 28,000 copies of “Dell restore CDs” – software that replaces …

DMCA Amendment Affecting Designated Agent Requires Registration by December 31, 2017

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), among other things, provides a safe harbor from copyright infringement liability for online service providers and website owners that allow third parties to post content onto or through their websites or other online platforms. In order to qualify for safe harbor eligibility, a company must register an agent with …

Artist Files Suit Over Destruction of Renowned Mural Alleging Violation of VARA

A noted designer and illustrator who worked on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” has filed a lawsuit over the destruction of his Los Angeles “Six Heads” mural, alleging violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) and the California Art Preservation Act. The case is Thrasher v. Siegel et al., case number 2:17-cv-03047, in the …

Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, INC. ET AL.

John Carson Atheltica

On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Star v. Varsity.  580 U.S.___(2017). The opinion concerned the copyrightability of two-dimensional designs, consisting of various lines and chevrons and colorful shapes, appearing on the surface of cheerleader uniforms.  Justice Thomas, delivering the majority opinion of the Court, opined …

Central District of California: Decision in Graham v Sotheby’s.

John Carson - California Sothesby

On March 17, 2017, Judge Nguyen of the Central District of California struck down the California Resale Royalty Act (CRRA) as violative of the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution (Graham v. Sotheby’s).  The Court stated that the CRRA is invalid because it regulates transactions that take place wholly outside of the State …