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San Francisco Civil Litigation Blog

Entertainment law and the preliminary injunction

Those who enter into the realm of entertainment typically wind up possessing a bundle of rights. An individual may acquire copyrights to a number of creative works, but the protections don't end there. For example, an individual has the right to prevent others from benefiting from his or her likeness without authorization. Personality and life rights can have tremendous value, too, so those who infringe on those rights can wind up stealing significant financial resources.

Once these violations are spotted, legal action can be taken. However, the legal process can take some time to play out. So what happens to the wrongful use of a copyright, likeness, or personality? Well, unless additional legal action is taken, a defendant can continue to use them until it is proven that such use is wrongful in nature. By seeking a preliminary injunction, though, an individual may be able to put a halt to such action until pending litigation is decided.

Fortnite makers sued for using dances without approval

When looking at entertainment law, individuals are endowed with certain rights. As we have discussed previously on this blog, those who create artistic works are instilled with copyright protection.

Trademark and patent protections may also be available to an individual depending upon the circumstances and work at hand. Another right that individuals possess is the right to not have other unfairly profit form their likeness without their consent. These are sometimes referred to as personality rights.

Copyrighted works are entering the public domain again

Copyright law has kept many works from the public domain for a long time, but several copyrights are expiring for the first time in many years.

Effective January 1, all works published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain. This is significant news in the world of copyright, as it has been over two decades since the last round of mass copyright expiration.

A primer on the rule against hearsay

There can be a lot at stake in civil litigation. Depending on the strength of the legal arguments you make in court, a judge or jury may or may not rule in your favor, which could result in significant financial consequences either to your advantage or your disadvantage. Therefore, prior to engaging in civil litigation, you need to make sure that you have not only strong, compelling legal arguments to make, but also a firm understanding of how to best present those arguments to protect your claim.One way to do this is to ensure that you have a full understanding of the rules of evidence. These often come into play when dealing with objections. One common objection is hearsay. Basically, hearsay is a statement that is made outside of court and is testified to by someone else in court, and those statements are offered for the truth of the matter asserted. Although hearsay is generally inadmissible in court, there are a number of exceptions. For example, statements that are made by a party opponent and are not hearsay. Also, business records are an exception to the hearsay rule because they are deemed reliable. The same holds true for an individual's statements pertaining to his or her then existing mental or emotional condition, as well as an individual's statements about an event as he or she is observing it. Even statements that are made to a medical professional for the purposes of receiving medical treatment are deemed reliable enough to be considered an exception to the rule against hearsay.Hearsay is just one of the many objectionable issues that may arise during civil litigation. Therefore, regardless of the type of litigation you find yourself embroiled in, whether it be family law, probate, torts, or some type of appeal, you need to make sure you have a firm understanding of the rules of evidence and how to use them to your advantage. Skilled litigators stand ready to help you with any civil litigation needs you may have, including dealing with evidentiary issues.

Trade secret litigation jumps after DTSA implementation

The number of trade secret case filings in the U.S. jumped after the federal Defense Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) was passed in 2016.

One report shows that between 2009 and 2016, about 900 trade secret cases were filed each year. In 2017, there were 1,134 cases filed and that number appears to be on track to be eclipsed in 2018.

When does inspiration spill over into copyright infringement?

Many copyright infringement cases for musician’s hinge on what exactly is infringement and what is not. At what point do songs go from having similarities to all out copyright infringement? If you were to ask many of the creative people behind the music, they would most likely say that the knowledge they have on writing music is based on what influenced them musically. While this does not mean these artists should only play a version of what inspires them, but how far away do they need to stray away from those influences to be safe from copyright infringement?

This begs the question, can new music be created without inspiration from music that came before? If it can, which seems to be the case, how much if at all can it sound like the original?

Nintendo recovers after settling copyright infringement lawsuit

Owning a business and being an artist are both challenging feats. There are many considerations that must be made and failing to do so can result in unintended and unwanted consequences.

For instance, as one recent case highlights, failing to police one's intellectual property or improperly using the intellectual property of another can have serious financial consequences.In that case, video game maker Nintendo filed a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit against an Arizona couple. The claim alleged that the couple had essentially stolen Nintendo video games and created unofficial copies of them that were available for free download online. The website received approximately 17 million visits per month and was viewed as one of the top emulation websites at the time.Though it appeared that the matter was headed to trial, the parties ended up reaching a settlement agreement. Through that agreement, the couple agreed to pay Nintendo more than $12 million in damages, which is much less than the compensation Nintendo originally asked for.

Helping people defend their personality rights

People know that California is a place where many wealthy and famous people live. In addition to the celebrities who congregate particularly in the southern part of this state, there are many wealthy business people, including pioneers in the technology industry, who call the San Francisco area and other parts of Northern California their home.

As a previous post on this blog has discussed, California residents, whether they are famous or not, have the right to decide how their images, their voices, and even their names are used in public, particularly when it comes to a business trying to use one's characteristics to sell a product or service.

Overview of how appeals work in civil cases

Even if a San Francisco individual or business has a great court case and has prepared for litigation well, there is always the chance that a judge or jury may make a decision that is disappointing.

In some cases, this may just have to be chalked up to the way life goes sometimes. However, in many other situations, the reason the result is disappointing is that it really was not fair or even was contrary to established California or federal law.

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