Pay or Play Blog

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

  • 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 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
  • Upon Further Review – Nationals Get Second Swing at Orioles Over TV Dispute Copyright: ericbvd / 123RF Stock Photo A New York court of appeals last week declared the Orioles and Nationals will play extra innings in the teams’ longstanding dispute over fees the Orioles’ Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) owes the Nationals for broadcasting their games. The teams have shared the network since the Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) arrived in Washington D.C. for the 2005 season.  The Orioles, incensed that the Nationals were consuming about a third of their market, broadcast Washington’s games at... More
  • Food Network’s Holiday Treat Sours Amidst Copyright Infringement Suit SugarHero Video Screenshot The Food Network is snowed in controversy after popular food blogger, baker and CSO (“Chief Sugar Officer”) of the recipe site Elizabeth LaBau filed for copyright infringement this month alleging the network copied her video tutorial on how to create “snow globe cupcakes.” LaBau first published the recipe in 2014 and experienced so much acclaim that she posted a one-minute video tutorial to her site last December, which accumulated approximately 5.7 million views on Facebook to date.  The... More
  • Disney Seeks to Cage “Zootopia” Copyright Infringement Suit Copyright: jagcz / 123RF Stock Photo The Walt Disney Company claims there was no monkey business in creating the Oscar-winning animation film Zootopia and has moved to dismiss writer Gary L. Goldman’s lawsuit for copyright infringement.  Goldman, an author whose credits include Total Recall, Next and Minority Report, filed suit in March and alleges that Disney copied the themes, settings, plot, characters and dialogue of Goldman’s live action film and television series titled Looney which Goldman pitched to Disney in 2009. ... More
  • No Laughing Matter – O’Brien Forced to Stand Trial in Stolen Jokes Lawsuit Copyright: buzzfuss / 123RF Stock Photo TBS comedian and late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien was given good reason to frown Monday when a federal judge denied summary judgment as to three of the five jokes comedy writer Alex Kaseberg claims O’Brien and his writing team stole from Kaseberg’s Twitter feed between December 2014 and June 2015. The three jokes left standing: a gag about New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady giving Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll the new car Brady... More