Better loophole next time, ivi

It has become more difficult to regulate cyberspace as the internet advances. Entertainment companies are growing nervous about TV shows being posted online without their permission. As a result, they have pushed for a “ new censorship law to block any site that points people to such video content.” In response, ivi, a Seattle-based company, filed suit to “get a declaratory judgment of non-infringement,” which would allow it to stream TV shows online legally.

According to a recent Memorandum and Order from the court, ivi argued that it does not have to comply with rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and needs only to pay $100 a year to the Copyright Registration Office for a Section 111 compulsory license. Public Knowledge. Section 111 “was designed to make it easier for cable stations to rebroadcast network TV.” Techdirt.

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Google, finally, steps in — but why?

In May, 2010, a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles issued a permanent injunction against isoHunt as a result of its court battle with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), ordering isoHunt to censor the site’s search engine “based on a list of thousands of keywords provided by the MPAA, or cease its operations entirely in the U.S.” TorrentFreak.

Gary Fung, owner of isoHunt, filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He argues that isoHunt is “just like Google – a neutral search engine – and hopes the court will decide that the keyword filter is needless censorship.” TorrentFreak.

Google has been silent throughout the battle between MPAA and isoHunt  — until now. Google has decided to file an amicus curiae brief with the appellate court because if the injunction holds up, “Google may face similar censorship threats.” TorrentFreak.

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‘Oh, Really?’ Legal ethics and ‘Californication’

In ‘Oh, Really?’ the Biederman Blog’s editors — voracious consumers of all matters pop culture — cast a curious, skeptical, fanciful, fun and smart end-of-the-week eye on popular productions, sharing their keen observations about legal matters these raise…

In an era when a movie called ‘No Strings Attached’ doesn’t merit so much as a blush, is it worth a reminder that the caveman-style casual hook-up can create ethical havoc for legal practitioners? How difficult can it be to adhere to the Bar’s cannons when those hormones call and lawyers and clients engage in, um, Californication, say as occurs in Season Four, Episode Six, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money?” How about a little adult discussion here on lawyers and ethics, prompted by one of cable television’s more frank and grown-up series. Those easily offended or prudish may exit the post here …

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After ‘Social Network,’ legal questions linger

If you haven’t already seen The Social Network, you need to. It took best picture at the Golden Globes and is in a tight race with The King’s Speech for best picture at the Oscars. It’s hard to think of a better reflection of the time, given Facebook’s incredible surge in popularity and recent overtaking of Google as the most viewed site on the web. But after watching the film, some real legal questions may linger: Was there further litigation by the Winklevoss twins and Divya Narenda against Facebook? Did the film accurately portray Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker and might either have a case against their film portrayal?

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A full calendar of entertainment law programs: on celebs in crisis, paparazzi law and more

When that cell phone jangles with a call from a client, exactly what kind of  duties will a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer be asked to undertake? Will it be a request to draft a personal services agreeement, a demand to make war on some miscreant seeking to infringe on or misappropriate the works of talent, or, as often gets 24/7 media saturation coverage in this city, will counsel suddenly be thrust into an all-consuming situation, dealing with criminal charges and coping with “Celebrities in Crisis?”

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2 sink claws into DreamWorks’ ‘Panda’

Artist Jayme Gordon has filed a complaint against DreamWorks in Massachusetts, claiming that its film, “Kung Fu Panda,” infringed his copyrighted works. His works were collectively titled “Kung Fu Panda Power ” and were registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2000. THR, Esq. Gordon argues that DreamWorks not only copied the title of his work, but also the characters.

Simultaneously, DreamWorks is fighting another lawsuit brought by a writer named Terence Dunn. He claims to have discussed the story of a “spiritual kung-fu fighting panda bear” with DreamWorks executives on the phone in November, 2001.

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No-shows at anti-piracy hearing: Google, Yahoo

Capitol Building and GoogleThe Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony recently in Washington from representatives of Verizon, the Authors Guild of America, GoDaddy.com, Rosetta Stone Ltd., and Visa on illegal websites, the effects of piracy and the firms’ roles in anti-piracy efforts. The big players notably missing from this list were Google and Yahoo. CNET reports that Google did not appear alongside these other companies, though Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.) had invited them. Politico reports that Yahoo did not send a representative to the hearing, either.

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Revolution©: who owns iconic Che image?

The image has become at once iconic and ubiquitous: Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Cuban guerrilla leader, relentless and determined, glancing out into the distance. Jim Fitzpatrick, an Irish artist, created this print in 1968 and allowed revolutionary groups throughout Europe to use the image copyright-free. The depiction that  once was a symbol of progressive ideals, however, since has become a pop-culture money-maker, adorning key rings, T-shirts and even lingerie around the globe. And now Fitzpatrick hopes to establish full copyright ownership in the poster to stop its use for “crass commercial purposes.”

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