Archive | November 2013

The NCAA Now Battles with EA and CLC

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The NCAA has now sued Electronic Arts, Inc. and Collegiate Licensing, Co., reportedly alleging both EA and CLC breached their contractual obligations to the association and can’t use a $40 million settlement to exit an antitrust class action brought by student-athletes alleging unauthorized use of their likenesses.

The class action brought by student-athletes was against both EA and the NCAA.  EA is attempting to settle with the athletes, and the NCAA’s attempt to get the suit dismissed was not successful.  

On November 4, the NCAA asked a Georgia court in its complaint to prevent EA from moving forward with its proposed $40 million settlement with the student-athletes because, according to USA Today, EA failed to maintain liability insurance to cover “pending third-party claims”.

CLC’s role claimed by the NCAA, is that it reportedly failed to ensure EA had adequate insurance and refused to give NCAA access to documents and records that the association requested.

CLC claims it has no reason to be involved in the NCAA’s suit.  Andrew Giangola, vice president of strategic communications for CLC’s licensing affiliate IMG College said, “CLC is caught in the middle of a dispute between NCAA and EA which should not involve us. CLC has valued relationships with both the NCAA and EA and while we hope they can soon resolve their dispute, we see no reason for CLC to be involved.”

It appears that this is the NCAA’s response to the decision by a California federal judge earlier this month to certify the athletes as a class to pursue a challenge to the NCAA’s ban on compensation itself. But the judge denied certification to a class that sought potentially billions in past damages allegedly caused by not being able to reap the benefits of collectively licensing their images. 

The case is National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Collegiate Licensing Co. et al., case number 2013CV238557, in the Superior Court of Fulton County.

 

Legal Perspective: Australia and U.S. Film Markets – To Subsidize or Not?

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Jose Landivar, Arther Law’s Industry Insider Blog

Quick, someone tell me how the Australian film industry works and what involvement the government has in funding films and subsidizing its burgeoning film industry? Any takers? Good, then this article is for you.

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Read More…

TufAmerica Brings Infringement Suit Against Jay-Z..Again

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Nick Guarino, Arther Law’s Industry Insider Blog

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TufAmerica has once again come forth against a major hip hop mogul, this time alleging copyright infringement for the unlicensed use of their track “Hook & Sling Part 1.”

The lawsuit was brought against Jay-Z, Warner Bros. Music and Roc-A-Fella Records for illegally using the song in Jay-Z’s song “Run This Town.” The song, also featuring Kanye West and Rihanna, was a major hit single in the United States. Read More…

American Film Market Conference Echoes Predictions of Growth in Chinese Film Markets

by Nicole Joyce, Arther Law’s Industry Insider Blog

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On November 6th in Hollywood the annual American Film Market Conference was held. The AFM conference is eight days of non-stop movies from large blockbusters to independent films. During the course of the conference approximately 400 films are shown, some making their premier at these events.

The event also involves networking events and seminars for the approximately 8,000 guests that come to the event annually. The attendees include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, and press members.

This year the AFM reflected the growing awareness of the quickly growing Chinese film market. Currently in China there are 10 movie screens built a day. It is also predicted that the Chinese film market will overtake the US film markets in profits in the next five years.

This year the AFM counted as one of its attendees the China Film Group, the largest state-owned production and distribution company. The attention is not one sided however with some of these big production companies looking to Hollywood for investment in there Chinese productions. This could mean bigger budgets and more international casts.

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Hollywood is also not just interested in old talent in the Chinese market, but are particularly interested in the new producers and directors coming from the region. Several directors are making their debut, such as Vicky Zhao (So Young,), Guo Jingming (Tiny Times) and Xu Zheng (Lost in Thailand).  

Big Lawsuit by NFL Players May Point to $100 Million Scam

by Brian Kim, Arther Law’s Industry Insider Blog

16 current and former NFL players recently filed a lawsuit in Florida for being scammed out of $60 million total in player money. However, this lawsuit may also be evidence of an even bigger scam, with the total fallout reaching nearly $100 million USD. Read More…

Legal Perspective: Twitter IPO…Bull Market or Just “Bull”?

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In case you were living under a rock or simply ignore financial news, you might have heard that Twitter made its long-awaited and much hyped debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) last Thursday. The micro-blogging company responsible for introducing the “#hashtag” phenomena to the English lexicon and creating the dreaded celebrity Tweeting wars raised over $1.6 billion USD over one trading day as its shares jumped from its initial offering price of $26 per share to nearly $50 per share at its intraday highs, finally settling at $44.90 per share at the closing bell.[1] The phenomenal performance of the Twitter IPO recalled the heady days of the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s and almost made weary investors forget about Facebook’s faulty IPO last year. Read More…

Blurred Copyright for Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up”

Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke

Wednesday, Marvin Gaye’s family formally accused Robin Thicke of borrowing key elements of his hit song, “Blurred Lines”, from Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give it Up”.  The accusations don’t stop there, Gaye’s family also accuses Thicke of borrowing from some of Gaye’s other songs including “After the Dance” for Thicke’s Love and War. The Gaye family is also suing additional parties including song collaborators Pharrell Williams and T.I., Universal Music group and EMI.

“To write and record the song ‘Blurred Lines,’ the … writers intentionally and unlawfully copied and assembled a constellation of distinctive and important elements from [Gaye’s song],” the filing said. “’Blurred Lines is so substantially similar … that ordinary observers all over the world have remarked that the two songs sound the same, which they do.”

Robin Thicke has filed his own declaratory judgment on grounds that Gaye’s family threatened to file suit for “Blurred Lines”.  It is no secret that Thicke has patterned himself after his beloved inspiration Marvin Gaye.  He has openly mentioned that “Blurred Lines” was created with “Got to Give it Up” in mind.  In an interview with GQ and Billboard before litigation Thicke is quoted as saying:

“Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up.’ I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it.”

Counsel for Thicke said the songs share the same genre, but the notes are different, therefore, the fact that Thicke and his collaborators are fans of Gaye makes no difference because there is no infringement.

Thicke and his collaborators assert in their own claim that the Gaye family is attempting to claim “ownership of an entire genre, rather than a specific work.”  “There are no similarities between plaintiffs’ composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements,” Thicke’s complaint said. “Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else’s composition.”

Nona and Frankie Gaye also filed claims against EMI, The label has connections to both parties.  EMI is the co-publisher of producing superstar Williams and is said to co-own and control “Blurred Lines.” However, the label also controls the recording right to Gaye’s song through assignment, and as a result Gaye’s family claims EMI violated its fiduciary duty to the Gaye family by not pursuing the infringement and by “attempting to interfere with and thwart the Gaye family’s pursuit of these claims”.  The Gaye family feels the punishment for EMI should be for it to lose all profits on “Blurred Lines” as well as rights to administer the song catalog of Gaye, known as the “Prince of Soul.”

Links for “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give it Up” are posted below.