After a dubious 25-year winning streak for film studios and television networks (see, articles "Death of Copyright" and "Death of Copyright: The Sequel"), it appears that some federal judges are giving copyright plaintiffs a fair shake. In the 2013 case entitled Dillon v. NBC Universal, the Hon. S. James Otero denied a Motion to Dismiss plaintiff's copyright infringement claim against NBC based upon the similarities between the plaintiff's treatment and NBC's reality show "Stars Earn Stripes". See also, Wilson v. The Walt Disney Company et al. (2015) (Hon. Vince G. Chhabria denied defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's copyright infringement claim with respect to the hit movie, "Frozen"). This trend has also surfaced in the music industry. Just last month, in Copeland v. Bieber et al., the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the grant of defendants' summary judgment on the issue of substantial similarity between the plaintiff's song and Justin Bieber's hit, "Somebody To Love" which was produced by Usher. See also, Straughter v. Raymond (2011) (Hon. Christina Snyder denied defendants' motion for summary judgment in another copyright infringement case against Usher). In June 2015, in a copyright infringement and idea theft case that is being prosecuted by Lowe & Associates entitled Douglas Jordan-Benel v. Universal Studios et al. (Case No. CV-14-05577) regarding the movie "The Purge", the defendants (which include UTA) jointly filed multiple motions to dismiss, motions to strike and an anti-SLAPP motion. As reported in The Hollywood Reporter, the Hon. Michael Fitzgerald denied defendants' motions to dismiss and anti-SLAPP motion on the grounds that, "Plaintiff’s claim for copyright infringement is sufficiently supported by plausible factual allegations." The "idea theft" claim also survived. Lowe & Associates also beat back a motion to dismiss in Hendricks v. BBC et al., (Case No. CV-14-02989), regarding the hit show "Orphan Black". As reported in The Hollywood Reporter, on June 8, 2015, the Hon. Ronald Lew denied a bid by certain Canadian plaintiffs to be dismissed from the case ruling that "the facts supplied by [p]laintiff establish a prima facie showing of general jurisdiction..." The foregoing may signal a shift away from what appeared to be a tremendous bias spanning almost three decades in favor of international entertainment conglomerates.
Copyright 2015 Lowe & Assoc. P.C. All rights reserved. June 2015 E-Newsletter
Note: The foregoing is a newsletter communication sent from Lowe & Associates and nothing herein guarantees similar results in other cases.