Patrick Wensink, who loves Jack Daniels, appropriated elements of the whiskey label in the cover for his new novel, Broken Piano for President. Jack Daniels, concerned about brand integrity, requested that the cover be redesigned when the work is reprinted—and even offered to pay part of the cost of changing the design for the initial printing and digital edition if the author is willing to make the changes.
“But…things definitely could be worse!” says Nancy Sims, Copyright Librarian, University of Minnesota Libraries, in her detailed evaluation of the decision. Kevin Smith, Duke University, notes that the publishers still lose. Plaintiff (publisher) reaction to the decision has been moderate. What’s next in this long-running show? The 11th Circuit decision remanded the case for reconsideration: The parties may continue, or they may decide that further investment is not worth it, and settle.
The NFL Players Association cautions athletes to get a release from the tattoo artist before the ink touches the bicep. New Balance footwear sued Karl Lagerfeld last spring, alleging that the designer infringed by copying the brand’s distinctive logo, though clothing designers in the U.S. have no copyright protection for their designs. And in Canada, an artist keeps an oil pipeline at bay by copyrighting the landscape as a work of art.
When the housing bubble burst in 2006, Colette Pelissier left real estate and persuaded her boyfriend, Brigham Field, to help her start making adult films. They founded the X-art.com web site in 2009. By 2011, there were 50,000 subscribers, at $40/month, but growth had mysteriously slowed. Upon investigation, they found some 300,000 people per month enjoying pirated versions of their films. They decided to try suing for copyright infringement—and it proved a lucrative sideline: They bought a Malibu mansion for $16,000,000. Last year, they filed more than 1,300 infringement lawsuits, and they now average three suits a day…
Bengal Mangle Productions has filed a copyright suit against Seth McFarlane and others, claiming that the 2012 comedy film, “Ted,” was based on 2008 web series that featured a drinking, smoking bear named “Charlie.”
The suit alleges that the bears are similar in appearance and behavior, with a “substantially similar persona.” “Ted” grossed $550 million worldwide, and a sequel is due next June.
The BBC compared photos of the two “badly behaved” bears:
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