Pay or Play Blog

https://payorplay.foxrothschild.com/

Conrad is a regular contributor for Fox's entertainment blog, Pay or Play, where he discusses current events and legal issues impacting the entertainment industry.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Ninth Circuit Makes Monkey Out of PETA in Copyright Suit By: Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female; rotated and cropped by David Slater. [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThe Ninth Circuit dropped the curtain last week on nearly three years of litigation waged by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) against wildlife photographer David Slater in the infamous “Monkey Selfie” case by declaring that monkeys do not have standing to sue for copyright infringement. In 2011, Slater left his camera unattended on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia when a crested... More
  • Does Lawsuit Against “Stranger Things” Creators for Idea Theft Stand Ghost of a Chance? After Netflix negotiated mega raises for the main actors of its hit program “Stranger Things” in March of this year, short-film producer Charlie Kessler wants a piece of the pie.  Kessler filed an action in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week for breach of an implied contract against “Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer who he claims heard his pitch for a science fiction show at a film festival in 2014 and ran with it without his consent... More
  • District Court Delivers Opinion for the Ages Striking AB 1687 as Violation of IMDb’s First Amendment Rights California’s Actor-Age Censorship Law (AB 1687), which would have required IMDb.com to remove age-related information from its web pages, was declared unconstitutional by a district court last month on free speech grounds. 75365726 – IMDb biography profile of actress Meryl Streep. SAG-AFTRA vigorously campaigned for the law, which it claimed would mitigate age discrimination in Hollywood.  Within two months of the law taking effect in 2017, IMDb obtained a preliminary injunction and later filed for summary judgment claiming the legislation impermissibly restricted... More
  • Ninth Circuit Has Whale of a Time Affirming Summary Judgment in Copyright Case of Crossing Dolphins 21575590 – dolphins at sea The Ninth Circuit issued an opinion last Friday that seems second nature. The court affirmed summary judgment for Wyland Galleries against marine wildlife artist Pieter A. Folkens, who claimed Wyland copied Folkens’s drawing of crossing dolphins in Wyland’s giclée titled “Life in the Living Sea.”  Folkens asserted Wyland created enough of the allegedly infringing prints to net over $4 million in sales. Folkens published his black and white drawing in 1979, which depicts one dolphin swimming vertically... More
  • Federal Circuit Decision Leaves Lanham Act’s Provision Barring Registration of Immoral and Scandalous Marks “FUCT” 37541052 – belchonock It is not often that a court of law can issue a landmark opinion laden with profanity and sexual innuendos.  But last Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit seized the opportunity in a colorful decision holding the refusal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register street artist Erik Brunetti’s mark “FUCT” is an unconstitutional restriction of Brunetti’s right to free speech. Brunetti and professional skateboarder Natas Kaupas created the “Fuct”... More
  • Summary Judgment for Insurer Leaves Porn Site Unprotected Against Actors’ HIV Claims A federal court on Monday held California’s State Insurance Compensation Fund has no obligation to cover a series of claims from three porn actors against Cybernet for allegedly causing them to contract human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during film shoots in 2013. 52004697 Cybernet, a San Francisco-based porn studio, was founded in 1998 and currently operates a series of adult-websites including Kink.com which primarily features content involving bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).  Actors John Doe, Cameron Adams and Joshua Rogers sued the... More
  • “The Cosby Show” Producer Demands BBC Foot the Bill for Using Show Clips in Documentary Exposé 44883775 – scyther5 Former American icon Bill Cosby has been accused of sexually assaulting at least sixty women over five decades, according to Time Magazine.  But the Carsey-Werner Company, which produced Cosby’s hit sitcom “The Cosby Show”, claims the program still has “inherent entertainment value” that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) wrongfully capitalized when it used eight clips and music from the show in its documentary “Bill Cosby – Fall of an American Icon.”  Carsey-Werner filed for copyright infringement in the... More
  • Court Pens New Chapter in Milo Yiannopoulos’ Suit Against Simon & Schuster 46927072 – Aleksandr Smaglov After the outspoken conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos sued Simon & Schuster this summer for allegedly breaching their contract to publish his autobiography Dangerous, Simon & Schuster threw the book at Yiannopoulos with a motion to dismiss.  But New York Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager was not convinced Yiannopoulos’ suit is ready for its final chapter.  Last week, the Court denied the motion and opened the door to discovery of evidence Yiannopoulos vows will show the publishing company... More
  • Dr. Phil Serves Bitter Pill to Woman Who Stole Nine Seconds of Footage 37541052 – belchonock Television host and psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw got just what the doctor ordered when a district court in Texas awarded summary judgment on Dr. Phil’s copyright claim against the woman who sued him in 2015 for alleged false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress. Leah Rothman, a segment director for the Dr. Phil Show from 2003 to 2015, claimed she suffered emotional distress when Dr. Phil allegedly locked her and approximately three hundred other show employees in a room, demanded... More
  • Creator of NBA 2K16 Warns Tattoo Lawsuit Could Leave Lasting Impression 84053215 – lightfieldstudios A multi-million dollar lawsuit for copyright infringement against Take Two Software, the creators of NBA 2K16 has proved to be anything but a slam dunk.  The alleged infringement concerns player avatars displaying tattoos worn by several NBA stars including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.  Last week, Take-Two filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings arguing its display of the tattoos is de minimis and qualifies as fair use. The plaintiff, Solid Oak Sketches, purchased the tattoos from the original... More