“Universal Music Publishing Group has finally settled its copyright lawsuit involving Stephanie Lenz, the woman who posted a short video of her son dancing to a Prince song in 2007.” [Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica, earlier]
A firm representing Lucasfilm/Disney sent takedown notices to force removal from social media of photos of a newly issued Star Wars figurine that an unnamed fan had walked into a Wal-Mart and purchased in the usual manner. [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
- Facing four harassment claims, embattled Philadelphia housing chief files his own suit for $600K+ [Inquirer]
- “Ohio State Abuses Trademark Law to Suppress a Fan Magazine and Website” [Paul Alan Levy, CL&P]
- “Judge Dismisses Baltimore Blight Suit Against Wells Fargo, Will Allow Refiling” [ABA Journal]
- Trial lawyer taking behind-the-scenes hand in Louisiana politics [OpenSecrets via Tapscott]
- “Are hedge funds abusing bankruptcy?” [Felix Salmon and WSJ]
- North Carolina alienation-of-affection law strikes again: “’Mistress Ordered to Pay $5.8 Million’ to Wronged Wife” [Volokh, Althouse]
- “Lawyers take a haircut on a contingency fee in Colorado” [Legal Ethics Forum]
- ADA lawsuits close another beloved eatery [Stockton, Calif.; six years ago on Overlawyered]
Two Chicago grocery store chains, Jewel and Dominick’s, bought full-page ads in “a special commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated magazine dedicated to [Michael] Jordan and his career”. The ads saluted the Chicago Bulls great for his achievements. Jordan proceeded to sue them for trademark infringement. [Chicago Breaking Sports, Tactical IP via Legal Satyricon]
The famous maker of candies and candy-dispensers is suing the owners of the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia in Northern California, claiming that its venture into Pez homage, which includes a Guinness-record largest replica of a Pez dispenser, infringe the firm’s trademarks and “deceive the public into thinking that the museum is operating under the authority of Pez.” [San Mateo County Times via Doctor Popular/Laughing Squid and BoingBoing] On Pez’s jealousy of its name, see this 1999 post; more on fans-as-infringers here.
…many commentators, and indeed, many fans themselves, operate on the rueful assumption that fan fiction does in fact infringe copyright.
Undaunted by this, Rebecca Tushnet, a professor of law at Georgetown University, and a keen fan fiction writer herself, wants to take fan fiction out of the legal shadows where it has operated, more or less at sufferance, for decades, and carve out a legal place for it within the US doctrine of fair use. She has recently helped found the Organization for Transformative Use, with the mandate to establish fan fiction within the parameters of legal, non-infringing use.