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.