JLA Beat

JLA Beat is a regularly-updated online resource written entirely by the Journal’s editorial staff. Launched in 2015, the Beat features recent legal developments in the topics discussed in our print edition and beyond, including the art, entertainment, sports, intellectual property, and communications industries. JLA Beat publishes at least once weekly.

New York Judge Tosses Dealer’s Lawsuit Against Agnes Martin Authenticators

Published Apr 16, 2018

On April 5, a New York State Supreme Court judge dismissed an art dealer’s lawsuit against authenticators of the works of the abstract painter Agnes Martin, rejecting claims that the defendants’ authentication decisions intentionally sought to cause the dealer harm. Agnes Martin, who died in 2004, was an American abstract painter known for spare canvases… Read more

Battle over Anastasia Continues in SDNY

Published Apr 16, 2018

On April 3, United States District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York denied summary judgment moved for by the creators of the Broadway musical Anastasia. This is the most recent step toward trial in this copyright dispute over the musical, which is based on the rumored life of Anastasia, daughter… Read more

Critical Corner – #ShutUpAndDribble

Published Apr 4, 2018

Fireworks, barbecue, red, white, blue, stars, stripes – many things have long been emblematic of the Fourth of July; for basketball fans everywhere, however, Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors in free agency, penned in a now infamous article for The Players’ Tribune entitled My Next Chapter on July 4, 2016, is perhaps equally… Read more

Critical Corner – “What Do You Meme?”: A Fair Use Analysis

Published Apr 2, 2018

On my first night home for spring break I was hanging out with my siblings and one of them brought out a game I hadn’t played before called, “What Do You Meme?” Seeking to combine the gameplay of the popular party game “Card’s Against Humanity,” with the Internet sensation of memes, “What Do You Meme?”… Read more

PASPA: Awaiting the Supreme Court Decision on Sports Betting

Published Mar 25, 2018

Much to the disappointment of many in the sports and wagering industries, the Supreme Court failed to issue a decision regarding New Jersey’s appeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) this month. Passed in 1992, PASPA bans sports gambling in the United States by prohibiting state governmental entities from sponsoring, advertising, operating,… Read more

‘The Shape of Water’ Gets Hit with a Copyright Infringement Suit

Published Mar 6, 2018

The Oscar nominated film that has critics buzzing, The Shape of Water, made headlines last month for another reason. On February 21, the estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District against Fox Searchlight, Guillermo del Toro, and others associated with… Read more

The Fight to Keep Rockwell (& Others)

Published Feb 12, 2018

On January 16, 2018, members of the Berkshire Museum appealed the Berkshire Superior Court’s dismissal of their request to enjoin the museum’s proposed sale (deaccession) of 40 works of art. The museum’s members liken their position to shareholders of a for-profit corporation and argue that they have standing to sue the museum for an action… Read more

Netflix, Amazon, and Hollywood Studios Sue Streaming Device, the Dragon Box

Published Feb 12, 2018

On January 10, 2018, Netflix and Amazon joined with several major Hollywood studios, including Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount, 20th Century, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros, to file suit against Dragon Media for allegedly inducing and facilitating copyright infringement through their streaming device, the Dragon Box.   Dragon Media, based in Carlsbad, California, is the maker… Read more

Seizure of Looted Antiquities from Billionaire’s Home

Published Jan 16, 2018

Investigators seized looted antiquities from the home of hedge fund manager and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt in early January. Having collected antiquities for three decades, Steinhardt is considered “one of the most prolific American buyers of ancient art.” He is a dedicated supporter of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which named one of its Greek art… Read more

Spotify Rings in 2018 With Another Lawsuit

Published Jan 16, 2018

Spotify, a digital music streaming and downloading service, faces another copyright infringement allegation in a series of lawsuits brought by music publishers and songwriters. On December 29th, 2017, Wixen Music Publishing, Inc., an independent music publisher formed in 1978, filed a complaint in California federal court, alleging that Spotify willfully infringed the copyrights of a… Read more

Justices Question Adjudication of Patent Rights

Published Jan 16, 2018

In late November this past year, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, a case whose outcome may affect both the core of the patent system and the administrative state, writ large. The Court granted certiorari to answer the following question: “May the Patent Trial and Appeal… Read more

Disney Sues to Stop Redbox from Selling Digital Download Codes

Published Jan 16, 2018

On November 30, the Walt Disney Company filed a lawsuit against Redbox, alleging that Redbox has been illegally selling digital download codes for Disney, Lucasfilm, and Marvel films. Disney’s complaint lists claims of copyright infringement, breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, false advertising, and unfair competition. It is seeking an injunction to prevent Redbox… Read more

“Lose Yourself” a Lawsuit: Eminem’s Win and Warning to other U.S. Based Music Producers

Published Jan 16, 2018

The New Zealand High Court rendered a decision in favor of Eminem’s publishing company, Eight Mile Style, LLC, on October 25, 2017, holding that New Zealand’s National Party committed copyright infringement when they used a tune similar to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in a campaign advertisement. Finding substantial similarities between the music in the ad and… Read more

New York Jury Grants a Win to 5Pointz

Published Nov 21, 2017

Is graffiti protected by law? Earlier this November, a Brooklyn jury in the Eastern District of New York answered in the affirmative, and found that real estate developer Jerry Wolkoff violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) when he demolished the well-known New York City “graffiti mecca,” 5Pointz.   The property in question,… Read more

Shifting liability to the ISPs of Absentee Defendants

Published Nov 13, 2017

On October 12, 2017, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed a brief as amicus curiae in a trademark and copyright infringement case, American Chemical Society v. Sci-Hub. Sci-Hub is a website that hosts research papers and make them available for free, and ACS holds the copyright to some of the research papers available… Read more

Critical Corner – JLA Staffers Review Marshall Film

Published Nov 13, 2017

Kyle Tuckman Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, is an incredible film about one of the first cases taken on by Thurgood Marshall in 1941. The movie captures the early years of Marshall’s career as one of the first attorneys for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Writers Michael and… Read more

President Trump, Twitter and the First Amendment

Published Oct 18, 2017

Lawyers from the Department of Justice have moved for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by critics who were blocked by President Trump on Twitter. In its motion filed October 13th, the DOJ claims that the President’s personal account is not a public forum for First Amendment purposes. The lawsuit, brought last July by the… Read more

Forever 21 Accused of Copying…Again

Published Oct 16, 2017

Fashion retail giant Forever 21 is being accused again of copying, this time by Word, a woman-owned branding agency based in Los Angeles. Word claims that Forever 21 copied their “Creator Shirt,” which features the word “woman” written in nine different languages.   Since Word posted about the similar design on Instagram, Forever 21 has… Read more

How the Dr. Seuss Estate (Almost) Stole Christmas

Published Oct 16, 2017

In an opinion filed on September 15, 2017, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York held that a comedic play parodying Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” qualifies as fair use.   “Who’s Holiday!” is a one-woman play that tells the story of a 45-year-old Cindy Lou Who, a fictional… Read more

New Bill Might Politicize US Copyright Office: Register Of Copyrights to be a Presidential Appointee

Published Apr 13, 2017

With a search for the next Register of Copyrights currently underway, a bill introduced in Congress on March 23, 2017, would let President Donald Trump make that appointment, rather than Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced the “Register of Copyrights Selection and… Read more