Month: August 2016

An appellate reverse on records law for movies

  The movie industry long has fought any efforts to impose content-based restrictions, with the courts and the law recognizing and giving wide berth to Hollywood’s First Amendment privileges. But a surrogate sector of movie making–the billion-dollar adult entertainment industry–almost from its start has borne the brunt of efforts to impose government restrictions, also battling in the highest courts over whether blue laws are reasonable or outright censorship. These movies makers scored a win recently when the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lower court decision and ruled in their favor on a case involving performers and film-makers’ need to...

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A problematic ruling on password sharing

This guest post was contributed by a blog alumna, and a newly graduated Southwestern juris doctor, who notes that she would have weighed in on this topic sooner, except she was studying and sitting for the most recent California Bar exam. The Internet went into a tizzy early last month when United States v. Nosal came down from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Blog after blog (after blog) proclaimed that this opinion made it illegal to use another person’s Netflix account. Earlier this year, this blog posted on this topic so how did the situation change? Bottom...

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Judge maps out where a mark won’t hold

Mention the appellation Westsiders to those who know well the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world, and heads nod in knowing acknowledgement: Yes, those who reside in Los Angeles, west of La Cienega Boulevard, are, indeed, a peculiar people. Similarly, the Pet Shop Boys, an English pop duo, scored a 2000 hit by describing the affinities of London’s distinctive “West End girls and Eastern boys.” But when it comes to residents of a slice of Manhattan, denizens of the Lower East Side or Loisaidas, is that a sort of generic geographical descriptor en Espanol, or is it a name of a group of people, say, a band, that can be trademark protected by a “urban bachata” duo hailing from the neighborhood? And, more key, if a film mentions Loisaidas repeatedly, including in its title, is that a trademark infringement? No, a federal judge in New York decided recently,  dismissing a lawsuit against Kanye West, Damon Dash, and various corporate entities associated with Dash. The court found that Loisaidas, the film series by West and Dash, has artistic relevance and is protected by the First Amendment. In 2015, musician Michael Medina sued for trademark infringment, then amended his complaint twice. His most recent suit asserted that West and Dash infringed Medina’s Loisaidas trademark, which he obtained for his band name in 2011, and, in 2012, for recordings and music videos....

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