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Last summer, comedian Robert Kaseberg filed a copyright infringement suit against Conan O’Brien, among others, alleging that O’Brien incorporated four jokes written by Kaseberg in the opening monologues of his television show “Conan.” According to the complaint,  Kaseberg published each of the jokes – all of which were based on then-current events and news stories – on his personal blog and Twitter feed on various dates between January and June, 2015, only to have O’Brien feature the same jokes in his monologues on the same respective dates.
Continue Reading Copyright Is Nothing To Joke About

In Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 572 U.S. __ (2014), the United States Supreme Court addressed the role that the equitable defense of laches – i.e., a plaintiff’s unreasonable and prejudicial delay in commencing suit – plays in relation to a claim of copyright infringement filed within the Copyright Act’s three-year statute of limitations period.  There is no doubt that Petrella puts to rest a split amongst the Circuits by clarifying that laches cannot bar a claim for legal relief for infringement occurring within the three-year statutory window.  Yet, Petrella should not be seen as a knock-out punch to the use of laches in copyright actions.  To the contrary, Petrella re-emphasizes the important role that laches plays in connection with the equitable remedies available under the Copyright Act, and provides copyright defendants – and plaintiffs – with guidance as to whether, and to what extent, a plaintiff’s delay in filing suit may limit the availability of those equitable remedies.  Additionally, Petrella’s discussion of a copyright plaintiff’s evidentiary burden and comments about the Copyright Act’s registration requirements raise interesting questions about the impact that a delay in filing suit may have on a plaintiff’s ability to prove infringement.  Laches, it seems, “don’t go down for nobody.”[1]
Continue Reading Laches, Statutes of Limitations and Raging Bull: The Supreme Court Re-Emphasizes The Pitfalls Of Delay In Copyright Cases