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USPTO Publishes Neil Young’s Trademarks for Audio Format Alternative to MP3’s

4 Apr

In June 2011 Neil Young filed six trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Those trademarks were:  Ivanhoe, 21st Century Record Player, Earth Storage, Storage Shed, Thanks for Listening and SQS (Studio Quality Sound).  The filed documents described the trademarks as:

“Audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances; high resolution music downloadable from the internet; high resolutions discs featuring music and video of music and artistic performances; pre-recorded digital media containing audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances for storage and playback.”

As well as “online and retail store services featuring music and artistic performances, high resolution music downloadable from the internet, high resolutions discs featuring music and video, and pre-recorded digital media featuring audio and video recordings for storage and playback.”

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Sony Sued by Weird Al Yankovic for Underpayment of Digital Royalties

3 Apr

Sony Music Entertainment has been sued yet again for underpayment of royalties (see our earlier post entitled Sony Sued by Toto Over Unpaid Online Royalty Payments).  Parody singer Weird Al Yankovic recently filed a $5 million lawsuit against Sony alleging Sony is not paying 50% of revenues per licensing deals as the parties agreed but is instead paying a straight royalty for download sales.  In addition to his underpayment of digital royalties claim, Yankovic also alleges Sony did not give him any money from Sony’s settlements with peer-to-peer music sharing sites  Napster, Kazaa and Grokster.

“The lawsuit filed in Federal court in the Southern District of New York follows a recent federal class action suit against Warner Music Group by band Tower of Power that makes similar claims of underpayment of royalties.

Both Yankovic’s suit and Tower of Power’s class action rely on the famous 2010 appellate ruling involving Eminem. Similarly, the rapper sued his record label, Universal Music Group, for the way royalties are calculated for digital music — whether they are considered a license or a sale.

Ultimately, the court found that digital music should be treated as a license. Like most artists, Eminem signed a contract that specifies he receives 50 percent of royalties for a license as compared to 12 percent for a sale. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the lower court’s decision, so the 2010 appellate ruling stands as the precedent in cases regarding digital royalties.”

To view the full article from The Huffington Post, follow this link.

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“Dances With Wolves” Actor Kevin Costner in Dispute Over Bison Sculptures

28 Mar

The South Dakota Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case involving actor-director Kevin Costner.  Last year artist Peggy Detmers sued Costner alleging  he breached a contract the parties had entered into for the commission of 17 bronze sculptures depicting buffalo and Native Americans.  The parties entered into the contract in 2000 under which Costner intended to display the sculptures at a South Dakota resort, The Dunbar, named after his character in the movie “Dances With Wolves.”  If the resort was not completed, the parties agreed to placement of the sculptures at a mutually agreeable location.  The resort was never built and Costner placed the sculptures near Dearwood at his Tatanka attraction.

Detmers alleged the placement of the sculptures at Tatanka was not a mutually agreeable location and therefore Costner breached their contract.  She argues that Costner should have to sell the sculptures and give her 50% of the proceeds.  Last year a circuit judge ruled the alternative placement did not constitute a breach of contract and the case is now before the South Dakota Supreme Court. Continue reading

POLL: Santorum v. Porn—Too Much?

22 Mar

Rick Santorum’s position paper discussing how he will crack down on pornography if elected to Presidency has ruffled some feathers—and not only in the adult entertainment industry.  MSNBC reported earlier this week, as reported on an article from XBiz, that 74% of people polled felt that the federal government should back down from such a strong enforcement of pornography.   In response to Santorum’s claims that porn is causing a “pandemic of harm” and contributing to violence against women, leaders in adult entertainment have responded through an article from MSNBC:  Hustler’s Larry Flynt says “Nonsense,” and Vivid’s Steven Hirsch states “Absolutely no proof.”  Flynt even continued by reminding readers that President Lyndon B. Johnson spent millions of dollars in 1969 to determine the detrimental effects of pornography… And came up with nothing.  From MSBNC, “‘You have guys like Santorum come along and they bring out the bogeyman every chance they get,’ Flynt said. ‘You will be hard-pressed to find anyone that can point out to you a study that shows harm is caused to anyone exposed to porn materials.'”

What do you think? Participate in our POLL!

To view the full article from MSNBC, click here.  To view the full article from XBiz, click here.

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POLL: Host Billy Crystal Incites Oscar Drama

27 Feb

Following Sunday February 26th’s Oscar Awards, host Billy Crystal has been receiving some backlash for an opening bit in which he was “blackface” Sammy Davis, Jr. (“blackface” refers to an actor being in full facial makeup so as to appear as though they are a different skin color).  In the skit, which was a parody of the award-winning movie Midnight in Paris, Billy Crystal appeared as himself along with Justin Bieber and “Sammy Davis, Jr.” (Crystal in blackface), who proposed to “kill Hitler.”   Many in the public have already reacted to the skit, including comedian Paul Scheer tweeting Best Supporting Actress winner Octavia Spenser (for The Help), saying that her win “shows just how far we’ve come since Billy Crystal performed in Blackface.”

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‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ List of Lawsuits

23 Feb

Looking to ‘trim’ a couple of pounds ‘quick’ly? Well stay clear of any products endorsed by the Kardashian sisters. Kim and Khloe may be facing a possible class action lawsuit over their diet product QuickTrim. Containing large amounts of caffeine, doctors are worried about the effect of the pills on dieters and say that the ingredient is “not safe or effective for weight loss.”

Law firm Bursor & Fisher is preparing the lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer and the Kardashian sisters. Emails were sent to registered users saying “The active ingredient in QuickTrim weight loss products is a large dose of caffeine . . . The FDA has determined that caffeine is not safe or effective for weight loss.”

To read the full article on the suit, follow this link.

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Martha Stewart in Hot Water Again

20 Feb

Martha Stewart’s contribution to consumer goods – products branded Martha Stewart Living – are currently causing a stir between big box stores Macy’s and J.C. Penney. In 2006, Macy’s was granted the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell certain Martha Stewart Living products. They recently extended their deal to continue through 2018. However, in December 2011, J.C. Penney announced plans to open small pop-up shops within their stores in 2013 that would sell Martha Stewart Living products. Trying to prevent J.C. Penney’s shops from happening, Macy’s is currently seeking an injunction against Martha Stewart Living and is suing Martha Stewart Living for breach of contract.

To read the full article, click here.

Bay-Watch Your Bills

16 Feb

Model and former Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson forgot that just because she is a celebrity, she still has to pay her bills—especially her legal bills!

Anderson’s Century City/Los Angeles law firm, Glaser Weil FInk Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro—who has also represented the likes of Conan O’Brien and Keith Olbermann—is taking Anderson to court for her failure to pay over $66,000 in legal fees.  It looks like the firm will take her to arbitration court within Los Angeles County as of now, but considering she apparently hasn’t paid her legal bills to this firm since they started representing her in April 2011, it could get much further.  The Hollywood Reporter states that the nature of the legal work is unknown at this point, but firm partner John Mason was directly involved in her specific legal matters.

The full story from The Hollywood Reporter can be found at this link.

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