Andy on the Road

11 February 2010

Litigation Roundup

Filed under: intellectual property,lawsandsausages,thecommonlaw — Andy @ 9:07 pm

I’ve been taking advantage of the week-long Hoth-ian situation down in DC to catch up on copyright and music industry news. A lot of my time on this was spent doing the who’s-suing-who IP and entertainment litigation roundup. There aren’t a lot of crazy legal theories here, so I don’t have much in the way of commentary or insight (or better still, links to those with insight). This is a little more gossip based. Enjoy:

  • The White Stripes are alleging that the US Air Force Reserves ripped on “Fell In Love With A Girl” on a Super Bowl ad. (THR, Esq.)  The Air Force ad can be found courtesy of Huffington Post. The composer responsible for the Air Force ad has since apologized. (Paste)
  • Up in Boston, Pizzeria Regina is suing South Weymouth pizza shop Capone’s under trademark theories. (Universal Hub)
  • Sly Stone is suing his former manager for a whole lot of money. A whole lot of money. (Billboard)
  • Slowly working up the courts since October is a lawsuit between Domino Records and A&M Records over whether Guns ‘N’ Roses ripped on Ulrich Schnauss on Chinese Democracy. (Billboard | Justia)
  • Two artists are suing the Black Eyed Peas over the “Boom Boom Pow” song. (THR, Esq.)
  • And last, but certainly not least, the first of many predicted lawsuits against that “Pants on the Ground” song. (This one’s called “Pockets on the Floor!”) (Techdirt)

On a closing note, social video website Veoh is going out of business. Veoh has been in court with Universal Music Group over whether the website qualified for DMCA safe harbor protection. The case is frequently cited as the tracer shot for the much heftier Viacom/YouTube case presently in discovery. While Veoh won summary judgment in September, UMG was planning an appeal. Commentators are now wondering if the UMG lawsuit drove Veoh into closure.  Billboard found a Veoh board member tweeting exactly that, but Ben Sheffner casts some doubt on that claim, noting the prior case Veoh has against adult entertainment company  iO Group running coterminous with the UMG case. In any event, Veoh is going away, and I would guess any appellate-level review of the Veoh/UMG case is probably going with it.

Update: Techdirt opens up the question of what’s to happen with the litigation in light of this news.

Update 2 (2/15): Eriq Gardner over at THR, Esq. (one of my new favorite blogs) offers his prediction for the Veoh case:

If Veoh declares Chapter 7, a bankruptcy judge would issue an automatic stay in the case. UMG would likely file a motion with the bankruptcy court seeking relief from the stay to perfect its appeal. The trustee would engage legal counsel and make financial arrangements to cover the costs of defending the case before the 9th Circuit.

We’re betting that all of this happens. The requiem on Veoh is now being written, but the company could continue to play a significant role in helping shape copyright liability for tech companies. (We wouldn’t even be surprised to see Google acquire Veoh just so it could share in the fun of the action.)

The Chapter 7 declaration has already happened. We’ll see how the rest pans out.

9 February 2010

The Capital Weather Gang

Filed under: washingtondc — Andy @ 7:49 pm

DC is currently the second-snowiest city in America (ahead of Buffalo, just behind Syracuse). We’re currently getting more snow, and we’ve barely shoveled our way to the street from the last storm. My school and work haven’t been in session since midday Friday. This storm has really been something, even for a relocated New Englander.

So I have to give a hat tip to my info source and lifeline for this storm: Capital Weather Gang. The website is the perfect balance of meteorology geekiness,  practical predictions with percentage likelihood, and fun little factoids. I highly recommend it for my fellow DC snowmen.

7 February 2010

Who dat say they gonna own that IP?

Filed under: intellectual property,nerdingout — Andy @ 12:33 pm

(some “Who Dat” graffiti, care of Flickr user “no, i have no idea“)

So it’s Super Bowl Sunday, which for IP nerds means it’s time to air our annual complaints about the NFL’s drastically overreaching intellectual property practice. So as you get ready for the big game be sure to check out the following:

  • Ron Coleman over at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION (R) gives a quick overview of the NFL’s trademark practice, including, among other things, attempts to register a trademark in “The Big Game,” to force professionals photographers working at The Big Game to wear Reebok and Canon logos, and to claim that their overzealous enforcement of trademarks is done in the interest of the fans. (Coleman also goes into the “55-inch TV rule” people are writing about, but I find that argument extremely dishonest and unnecessary, especially considering there are legitimate IP things we can use to get angry.)
  • Blake Reid at ChillingEffects addresses recent attempts by the NFL to crack down on “unauthorized” uses of the “Who Dat” slogan attributable to the Saints, as well as a recap of other famous NFL IP bullying.
  • Kevin Underhill of Lowering the Bar describes the events that lead up to the NFL backing down on their “Who Dat” legal attacks.
  • Finally, Martin Schwimmer, normally of The Trademark Blog, wrote an excellent column in the Huffington Post, examining the “Who Dat” question through the lens of other famous team-fan names (Red Sox Nation, the 12th Man, Cheeseheads, etc.). Martin wins for best quote about the whole “Who Dat” scandal, after Sen. Ensign attacked the NFL for going after New Orleans shops selling “Who Dat” shirts:

    Practice pointer: try to avoid situations where an alleged patron of prostitutes can take a holier-than-thou stance with regard to your client.

Enjoy the game!

6 February 2010

DC Snowstorm 2010

Filed under: boston,washingtondc — Andy @ 1:32 pm

I love snow.  I think it has something to do with being a February kid.  So I’m really enjoying the DC Snow-my-god-apocalypse 2010.  (Of course it already has a Wikipedia page!)  It’s already eclipsed the December storm, which I barely escaped thanks to my whimsical decision to take the train back north.  For my Boston friends, this is coming pretty close to the January 2005 storm that shut our fair city down for a day or two (except that one Dunks on Boylston St.).  Here’s the view outside my row house:

I’ve created a Flickr event to start collecting some photos of the storm.  Should I get all my work done I plan walk down to the Capitol, snap some pictures of the Hill, and post them up there.

Update, 9PM: I did go out there, and added a little over 100 photos from my trip down from the Hill through the Mall and back through Chinatown.  It was a lovely expedition.

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