Edwin Komen

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Trademark Modernization Act Strengthens Rights of Trademark Owners

The Trademark Modernization Act (TMA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020.  The Act introduces significant amendments to the Lanham Act designed to strengthen the rights of legitimate trademark owners.  The Act makes it easier for trademark owners to obtain injunctive relief in litigation, provides new mechanisms for challenging trademark applications and registrations on … Continue Reading

Italian Film Composer “Scores” for Authors

The Second Circuit issued a remarkable decision on termination rights under Sections 203 and 304(c) of the Copyright Act that seemingly, whether knowingly or otherwise, limits the Act’s extraterritorial reach. Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bilio Music Group Ltd., Second Circuit, No 17-3595-cv, decided August 21, 2019 (“Morricone II”). The foregoing provisions of the Copyright … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds that a Copyright Claimant May Commence an Infringement Suit Only After the Copyright Office Registers the Copyright

On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court held unanimously that “a copyright claimant may commence an infringement suit … when the Copyright Office registers a copyright.” Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wallstreet.com, LLC. (Slip. Op. at p. 1 (syllabus)). The Court also held unanimously that, upon registration of the copyright, “a copyright … Continue Reading

Florida Now Follows New York to Find No Common Law Public Performance Right For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

A few months ago, we brought to your attention a case initiated by The Turtles, seeking royalties in New York for the unauthorized performance of their pre-1972 sound recordings. In that decision, the Court of Appeals of New York decided, on a question certified to it by the Second Circuit, that New York state law … Continue Reading

The Southern District of New York Finds “Work Made For Hire” Under Italian Copyright Law

Musical scores incorporated into films are usually produced with the specific film in mind. In the U.S., we call such works “works made for hire,” meaning that the artist does not retain authorship rights to the music. Instead, the commissioning party, which is typically the film producer or music publisher, is the author of the … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Joins Split Court Decisions on Registration Precondition for Copyright Suits

Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act generally requires copyright registration, or a refusal of registration, before a copyright action may be filed. This has led to a variety of decisions from the Circuit and District Courts interpreting the meaning of “registration.” It has even led to an intriguing gloss from the Supreme Court, Reed Elsevier, … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Says No Common Law Public Performance Right For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

On December 20, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, held that no common law public performance right exists for pre-1972 sound recordings. The issue of whether a common law public performance right exists for pre-1972 sound recordings in New York was an issue of first impression. Although this … Continue Reading

First Amendment SLAPPs Publicity Right Plaintiff in “Hurt Locker” Case

On February 17, 2016, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal by the Central District of California under the California anti-SLAPP statute of a publicity rights claim against the motion picture “The Hurt Locker.”  The plaintiff, Army Sergeant Jeffrey Sarver, an explosive ordnance disposal technician in Iraq, claimed the film appropriated his life story. Sarver v. … Continue Reading

Laches, Statutes of Limitations and Raging Bull: The Supreme Court Re-Emphasizes The Pitfalls Of Delay In Copyright Cases

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 … Continue Reading

Intent To Use – It’s Not The Thought That Counts

Bona fide intent, the sine qua non of non-use trademark applications, was given new meaning by the TTAB in a decision released unpublished February 21, 2014 but redesignated as precedent on March 26, 2014, thus placing at risk similar applications for oppositions and issued registrations for cancellation.  The decision, Lincoln National Corporation v. Anderson, Consolidated … Continue Reading

DOMA goes down – Copyright goes up – U.S. v. Windsor, Supreme Court, No. 12-307, decided June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court today handed down a far reaching decision throwing out an attempt by Congress to deny the benefits conferred by federal law on same sex couples legally married under state law holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), as so applied, constituted a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons protected by … Continue Reading

BONDing WITH NPE’s – The requirement for security for costs or expenses under Section 1030 of the California Code of Civil Procedure

A little used and often overlooked provision of the California Code of Civil Procedure recently played an important role in three recent cases brought by AF Holdings LLC, a foreign entity formed under the laws of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, against California residents for allegedly dealing with copyright infringing content through use … Continue Reading

Thin Copyrights – Protected But Not Infringed

Blehm v. Jacobs, 10th Cir., No. 11-1479, December 27, 2012 Some appellate decisions are worth examining because they plow new ground. Others serve to explain the ground that was plowed. This decision – dealing with substantial similarity (or lack thereof) between two sets of stick figures – is among the latter.… Continue Reading
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