Whatever Happened to Cindy-Lou Who?

Earlier this year I wrote about a copyright dispute between playwright Matthew Lombardo and the estate of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The issue was whether Lombardo had infringed on the Seuss copyright with his derivative play Who’s Holiday — or whether the play constituted fair use. As I wrote back in March: Who’s Holiday […] Read More

Cutting Through the Confusion: The Second Circuit Decides Who’s on First

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has just rendered a decision regarding the classic Abbott and Costello bit, “Who’s on First?” (Full disclosure: I memorized the routine when I was a kid. My sons call me a nerd. They’re right.) The case involves the one-minute use of “Who’s on First” in a play entitled Hand […] Read More

Hotel California: A Great Song, a Great Title, But a Great Hotel?

Here’s the case of a dark, desert highway with, perhaps, a cool wind in your hair:  The Eagles Ltd v. Hotel California of Baja. It concerns a hotel in Mexico that had been opened in the 1950s under the name Hotel California. The owners decided to stop using that name and retitled the property “The […] Read More

A Friend of a Friend Said… You Should Actually See a Lawyer

The other day a client sent me two pictures. One was of a someone else’s textile design, and the other was my client’s own rendering of it. The client said “We copied our design from their design. Can you tell us whether it’s infringing?” Rather than respond to the email, I called my client and reminded him […] Read More

Breitbart’s Biggest Enemy is the Truth…Including Todd Bigelow’s Copyright

A lawsuit was recently filed in the Southern District of New York that isn’t exactly fascinating for its merits, but it does speak to the perennial issue of intellectual property rights: the erroneous but popular idea, even among commercial users, that “if it’s on the internet, it’s free to use!”   In Bigelow v. Breitbart […] Read More

It Takes All Sorts of Torts, Indeed!

A copyright dispute late last year forced a holiday play to go dark before the Rockefeller Center tree was ever lit. The suit centers around the play Who’s Holiday by Matthew Lombardo. No, the dispute is not over the apparent typo in the play’s name. Rather, it is that the defendant’s play is based on […] Read More

Before I Pay You for Copyright Infringement… Who Are You, Anyway?

Readers of my blog know that I’m generally in favor of enforcing copyright. If you’ve got the goods on someone and those are your rights, you should be entitled to collect for it — or at least stop it. Likewise, if you’ve been called out for infringing, the right thing to do is usually to […] Read More

To Boldly Go Where No Nerds Have Gone Before…

To boldly go where no nerds have gone before… In Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions, Inc. the U.S. District Court for Central California was presented with a case of fan fiction gone awry. A small studio called Axanar Productions set out to produce a piece of Star Trek fan fiction centered around an obscure […] Read More