Appellate Courts Recognize Strike 3’s Ability to Meet Standard for Early Discovery to Obtain John Doe Defendant’s Name and Address

While some bullheaded District Court judges have stopped Strike 3 in its tracks by denying its request for early discovery, most appellate courts to have considered the issue find that Strike 3’s allegations of copyright ownership and illegal downloading of their works by an identifiable IP address are enough to permit Strike 3 to discover the IP address owner’s name and address.


Continue Reading Strike 3 Saga: Turning BitTorrent Downloads Into A Copyright Infringement Settlement Machine Part 2

D.C. Circuit Reverses District Court’s Denial of Strike 3’s Request for Early Discovery to Obtain Identity of Subscriber of IP Address Allegedly Used to Illegally Download Strike 3’s Adult Videos

The D.C. Circuit recently revived one of thousands of copyright lawsuits filed by an adult film studio, Strike 3 Holdings, overturning the lower District Court Judge who declined to allow Strike 3 to engage in early discovery sharply criticizing the film studio plaintiff for using the courts as an ATM. See Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. Doe, No. 18-7188 (D.C. Cir. 2020). The three-judge appellate panel, however, ruled that the judge erred in refusing to grant Strike 3’s request to subpoena an internet service provider in order to identify the name and address of a John Doe subscriber of an IP address allegedly used to illegally download Strike 3’s films using BitTorrent.


Continue Reading Strike 3 Saga: Turning BitTorrent Downloads Into A Copyright Infringement Settlement Machine Part 1

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court recently held that States cannot be held liable for monetary damages in copyright infringement lawsuits despite the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA). This act provides that a State “shall not be immune, under the Eleventh Amendment [or] any other doctrine of sovereign immunity, from suit in Federal court” for copyright infringement. See Allen v. Cooper, 140 S. Ct. 994 (2020).

Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds States Cannot Be Sued for Monetary Damages in Copyright Infringement Cases

In Solid Oak Sketches, LLC v. 2K Games, Inc. et al., No. 16-CV-724-LTS-SDA, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53287 (S.D.N.Y. 2020), the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s copyright infringement claims based on the use of Plaintiff’s copyrighted tattoos on replica NBA players in Defendant’s popular NBA 2K video game. Concluding Defendants’ use was de minimis, the Court dismissed the copyright infringement claim finding a lack of substantial similarity between the works. The Court also found the existence of an implied license as well as determined that the use was fair use.

Continue Reading Owners of Lebron James and Other Players’ Tattoo Designs Cannot Pursue Copyright Infringement Claims Against Developer of a Basketball Simulation Video Game for Replicating the Tattoos on the Virtual Players

Many people are either confused, do not know what to make of, or may even think it is a phishing expedition when a letter is received from their internet service provider (“ISP”) such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, Spectrum, Frontier, Cox, Optimum, Earthlink, Viasat, Altice, etc., informing them of a lawsuit by STRIKE 3 HOLDINGS, LLC, which concerns the illegal downloading and uploading of copyrighted materials.

Continue Reading What to Do If You Get a Letter from Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) About a Subpoena to Turn Over Your Name and Address

“The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a dismissal of untimely copyright infringement claims that an ex-partner brought against Jerry Seinfeld over the hit series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. Charles v. Seinfeld, 803 F. App’x 550 (2d Cir. 2020). Plaintiff Christian Charles brought suit claiming ownership over the pilot episode of the show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” that he and his production company helped develop back in 2011.

Continue Reading Jerry Seinfeld’s Ex-Partner Time Barred in Copyright Dispute Over “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”

Drake scored a big win as the Second Circuit affirmed his use of another work in one of his songs as “fair use.” Estate of Smith v. Graham, 799 F. App’x 36 (2d Cir. 2020). The original lawsuit alleged Drake violated a copyright by sampling a 1982 word recording, “Jimmy Smith Rap,” in his own song, “Pound Cake.”

In April 2014, the estate of Jimmy Smith filed suit against Drake, alleging infringement of the copyright of “Jimmy Smith Rap.” It is worthwhile to note that Drake had actually obtained a license to the sound recording, but not the composition. In 2017, the District Court ruled that the portion of “Jimmy Smith Rap” used in Drake’s song was fair use because Drake’s objective was “sharply different from the [original artist’s goals] in creating it.” Estate of Smith v. Cash Money Records, 253 F. Supp. 3d 737, 750 (S.D.N.Y. 2017).


Continue Reading Drake Wins Big With Fair Use

On June 30, 2020, Justice Ginsburg, writing for the Supreme Court, concluded that the addition of “.com” to a generic mark can be sufficient to elevate the mark beyond genericism and trigger federal trademark protection.

Previously, Booking.com was denied federal trademark recognition on the basis that it was a generic term, signifying a class of online hotel-reservation services rather than a particular brand or service of that class. Both the examining attorney and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) concluded that the term “Booking.com” was generic for the services it provided and was therefore unregistrable. The TTAB, the PTO Appeal Board, analyzed the two components of the mark separately, concluding that “Booking” represented a generic term that was indicative of making travel reservations; and adding “.com” did not enhance the distinctiveness of the mark, it merely represented that the service is located on a commercial website. Booking.com sought review in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where that court relied on evidence of the consuming public’s understanding of the mark in determining that Booking.com met the distinctiveness requirement for trademark registration. The PTO did not appeal the District Court’s determination of how consumers perceived the term “Booking.com”, and instead only appealed that court’s holding that the mark was not generic.


Continue Reading Booking Is Generic But Booking.Com Is A Registerable Trademark

The videoconferencing platform Zoom has become a ubiquitous part of the new normal and an integral part of American life during the recent coronavirus pandemic. With such widespread adoption at an exponential pace, does the brand risk becoming a generic term like Aspirin, Elevator, and Thermos? Or will the brand be able to hold on to its trademarked ground like Kleenex, Band-Aid and Xerox, which are still legally protected trademarks even though they are frequently used as generic terms.

Continue Reading Is Zoom On The Verge Of Becoming A Generic Mark?

CBD is more common than ever these days, conveniently placed on your local corner store’s checkout aisle. But are they legal to purchase in your state? What about their names and logos, can they be federally registered as trademarks?

Continue Reading CBD May Be Legal, but Challenges Still Persist in Obtaining CBD Product Trademark Registration