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

  • Cocky Controversy Roils Romance Community Alarm bells rather than wedding bells are ringing in the insular but passionate world of romance novels as authors and publishers grapple with the question whether an author can claim exclusive rights to use “cocky” in book titles. It started in early May, 2018. A self-published author named Faleena Hopkins obtained a registration for “cocky” as the the trademark for “a series of downloadable e-books in the field of romance.” Hopkins’s tomes include such titles as  Cocky Cowboy and Cocky Senator. Registration in hand,... More
  • CA Supreme Court Turns Independent Contractor Analysis on its Head The post below was first posted by my colleague Jeff Polsky on the Fox Rothschild California Employment Law blog. We are reprinting it here because the recent California Supreme Court decision that it describes will have tremendous impact on the way many producers do business. It’s common practice for producers to engage cast and crew as independent contractors rather than as employees. This will now be far more problematic, at least in California. Anyone who engages personnel in this state should... More
  • Big Loss for News Media in Copyright Case: Where Is Your Server, and Why Do I Care? The digitization of content is forcing courts to take a fresh look at basic copyright concepts. The Disney v. Redbox case that I’ve recently blogged on addressed whether a digital download code is a “copy” of a work. Now a New York District Court has taken up the meaning of “display” in a case that could have big consequences for the way news outlets do business. A photographer named Justin Goldman snapped a candid photo of New England Patriots quarterback Tom... More
  • Surprising Decision in Disney-Redbox Case Redbox scored a win in its copyright dispute with Disney as a federal district court judge refused to award the studio a preliminary injunction against Redbox’s sale of digital download codes. Disney’s complaint was that Redbox was purchasing “Combo Packs” of Disney movies, which include a DVD, Blu-Ray disc and digital download code, opening the packages and selling its components separately. This, Disney claimed, encouraged consumers to violate the terms of copyright licenses set forth on printed inserts in the Combo... More
  • 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