Blog – Pay or Play

http://payorplay.foxrothschild.com/

Authored by the attorneys in the firm’s Entertainment Department, this blog provides a legal perspective on the latest issues and trends affecting the entertainment industry, including digital content, multichannel networks, celebrity branding and artist and performer management as well as commentary on music law and media distribution law.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Disney and Redbox Debate the Meaning of “Copy” Redbox and Disney have filed their briefs in preparation for argument, scheduled for February 5, on Disney’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Redbox’s alleged copyright infringement. The judge’s ruling could make new law on the meaning of a “copy” in the digital age. The underlying facts are these: Redbox legally purchased “Combo Packs” of Disney movies. These included DVD and Blu-Ray discs as well as a code by which the purchaser could download a copy of the movie. Redbox unbundled... More
  • Redbox Download Code Sales Draw Disney Fire In November of last year, a division of Walt Disney Company brought a lawsuit against Redbox. The Mouse now has kicked it up a notch by moving for a preliminary injunction. One of the ways in which Disney markets its movies is in Combo Packs. These are bundles that include DVD and Blu-ray discs as well as digital download codes. The Combo Packs are packaged and priced to be sold as a unit. The outside packaging of the Combo Packs states... More
  • San Diego Smackdown, the Final Chapter? The jury has spoken. After a saga worth of Homer, Comic-Con is a valid trademark. The battle began when, the organizers of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), the 50-year old grandaddy of fan conventions, sued the producers of Salt Lake Comic Con for infringement. As we previously reported, the defendants struck back by asserting that comic con (no hyphen) had become a generic descriptor for comic book conventions, citing the scores of events around the country that describe themselves the same way. The... More
  • FCC Adopts Next Gen TV: Maybe Not a Good Thing In another controversial move, the FCC has approved by a 3-2 vote the adoption of the ATSC 3.0 standard for broadcast TV, known as Next Gen TV. This IP-based standard will permit over-the-air broadcasters to offer Ultra High Definition signals and improve mobile transmission. Sounds good, right? Opponents cite two concerns. Copyright: scanrail / 123RF Stock Photo Using Next Gen TV, broadcasters will be able to track individualized viewing data to deliver targeted ads. This is a red flag for consumer and... More
  • Coachella Organizers Challenge Use of “Filmchella” for Film Festival Fox associates Megan Center and Elizabeth Patton wrote a duo of posts for Fox’s advertising law blog Above the Fold examining a trademark dispute surrounding the term “Coachella.” The case relates to entertainment festivals not associated with the organizers of the well-known annual event in Indio, California. As Megan lays out in her post: “Robert Trevor Simms (Simms) purported to create a film festival known as FILMCHELLA. Prior to filing for the injunction, Coachella Music Festival, LLC and Goldenvoice, LLC (collectively,... More
  • Work for Hire? In California, Maybe Not. My partner Nancy Yaffe has just posted a blog with disturbing implications for California entertainment lawyers. As young practitioners we  all were taught that every agreement with a person providing services on a film or TV show must include a provision that the results and proceeds of the person’s services are a “work made for hire” under copyright law.  This language is as important for entertainment lawyers as the Prime Directive is for Capt. Kirk on Star Trek. It now appears that... More
  • FCC Briefing: Two Things to Watch Here in the Hollywood bubble, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own tales of heartbreak, victory and scandal and forget that events outside of LA can also impact the entertainment business. One of these is that the FCC is now Republican-controlled. The new FCC chair Ajit Pai has already signaled that we can expect significant policy shifts. Here are two to watch. Copyright: scanrail / 123RF Stock Photo Net Neutrality: This blog has been following the net neutrality saga, most recently... More
  • San Diego Smackdown, Chapter 2: Gag Order Overturned on Appeal 10066940 – super hero and a ninja doing battle. I’ve blogged here and here about the pending trademark infringement case brought by SDCC, the registered owners of the San Diego Comic-Con mark, against the producers of Salt Lake Comic Con. The Utah group had launched an aggressive social media campaign to draw moral and financial support from fans and organizers of other Comic Cons around the country. The plaintiff persuaded the trial judge, Anthony Battaglia, to issue a gag order to halt... More
  • Follow Up: Guilty Pleas in Casting Workshop Prosecutions We blogged recently about criminal proceedings brought by the LA City Attorney against numerous defendants accused of operating pay-for-play casting workshops in which actors allegedly paid for the opportunity to audition in front of casting directors. These cases are working thei Copyright: ratru / 123RF Stock Photo r way through the justice system, as some defendants pled guilty. Two more casting directors have taken guilty pleas, while some twenty-five are still awaiting trial. Read more about it in the Deadline Hollywood story here.... More
  • San Diego Smackdown: Comic Con Trademark Fight Goes First Amendment The stakes just raised in an imminent trial over the validity of the San Diego Comic-Con trademark. What started out as a straightforward trademark dispute has now implicated First Amendment free speech issues. 10066940 – super hero and a ninja doing battle. The underlying case involves an action by SDCC, which owns a trademark registration for San Diego Comic-Con, against Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, organizers of a Utah convention named Salt Lake Comic Con. Among Farr’s and Brandenburg’s defenses is that “Comic Con”... More