Tag: First Amendment

Supreme Court Likely to Uphold Bar on Registering “Trump Too Small”

Oral arguments were heard today by the Supreme Court in Vidal v. Elster. This trademark case revolves around the constitutionality of the 15 U.S.C. § 1052(c) bar to registering a mark that "consists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent." Based on the oral...

Draft Digital Replica Bill Risks Living Performers’ Rights over AI-Generated Replacements

The NO FAKES ACT released as a discussion draft last week proposes establishing a new federal digital replica right that would extend 70 years after a person’s death. The one-pager accompanying the draft highlights that the legislation is driven by concerns that “unauthorized recreations from generative artificial intelligence (AI)” will substitute for performances by the...

Senate Circulates Draft of Digital Replica Bill

A draft of a digital replica bill to address concerns over AI-generated performances and sound recordings has just been made public, along with a related one-pager. This follows in the wake of the Senate's July hearing on copyright and AI.  I previously submitted comments to the Senate after the hearing in anticipation of such legislation. ...

Supreme Court Sides with Jack Daniel’s in Trademark Case

Today's Supreme Court decision in Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products, 599 U.S. __ (2023), will influence not only trademark cases to come, but also false endorsement and right of publicity cases. As you may already know, the case involved a dog toy that mocked the name and trade dress of Jack Daniel's iconic...

Cardi B Wins Jury Verdict against Tattooed Plaintiff

On October 21st, in Brophy v. Almanzar, a jury sided with recording artist Cardi B (aka Belcalis Alamanzar) and rejected a lawsuit brought against her by Kevin Michael Brophy. The dispute arose out of the use of Brophy’s tattoo as a starting point for the cover art of Cardi B’s “career launching” 2016 mixtape Gangsta...

Federal Circuit Holds Bar on Registering “Trump Too Small” Violates First Amendment

On Thursday, the Federal Circuit decided In re Elster and reversed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) rejection of a trademark application by Steve Elster to register “Trump Too Small” on t-shirts and other apparel. An example of the relevant merchandise can be seen here. The examining attorney for the Patent and Trademark Office...

Third Circuit Holds that Newscaster’s Right of Publicity Claim can Proceed against Facebook

The Third Circuit in a 2-to-1 decision in Hepp v. Facebook has parted ways with the Ninth Circuit by holding that the Communications Decency Act § 230 (CDA § 230) allows right of publicity claims. This reversal of the district court allows the plaintiff Karen Hepp’s lawsuit to proceed against Facebook. The case involves a...

Toddlers’ Lawsuit Against Trump Tossed in Test of New York’s Expanded anti-SLAPP Law

On July 9th, a New York trial court dismissed the high-profile lawsuit against Trump, Trump for President, Inc. (“TFP), and Lance Cook brought by the parents of two toddlers whose embrace was transformed from a meme of racial harmony into an edited video suggesting one of them was a “racist baby.” The parents of the two-year olds...

Dua Lipa Sued Over Posting Photo of Herself on Instagram

Dua Lipa has been sued by Integral Images, Inc. in district court in California for posting a photo of herself on her Instagram feed.  This is yet another in a string of copyright lawsuits arising out of celebrities (like Khloe Kardashian & Tom Brady) posting images of themselves on social media when they are not the copyright holders of...

Win for Free Speech and Docudramas in New York

Last week a New York appellate court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion in Porco v. Lifetime Entertainment Services, the long-running dispute over Lifetime’s ripped-from-the-headlines docudrama Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story, which first aired in 2013.  This decision reverses the trial’s court’s alarming rejection of the defendant's summary judgment motion on the basis that...