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Los Angeles Entertainment Law Blog

Central query re Kid Rock litigation: What is trademark dilution?

If you're of a certain age, a single and strong image likely leaps out at you when you hear the phrase "The Greatest Show on Earth."

It's the circus, right? That tagline has for decades been intimately linked with animals, oddities and big-tent acts appearing under the auspices of Barnum & Bailey and the Ringling Bros.

If Spotify thought its previous IP problem was outsized …

We'll just tack on an ending to that partially denoted sentence in today's post headline above, to wit: " … just imagine what company executives are thinking now, in the wake of a more recent copyright-related headache."

Indeed, principals of the Swedish entity that provides a so-called "streaming" service of songs to scores of millions of users globally likely thought that a class action lawsuit brought by a group of songwriters last May could never be equaled again for inducing company pain.

In celebrity endorsement world, no one else quite like Mike

It's quite possible, of course, that some readers of our Los Angeles entertainment law blog don't immediately attach a face and personality to the above-cited headline name "Mike."

Conversely, though, it's just as likely that many do, especially if they were among the legions of young and impressionable people in bygone years who indeed wanted to BE LIKE MIKE.

California company sued by Harley-Davidson over trademark

A California-based clothing company is being sued by Harley-Davidson over an alleged trademark infringement. Reports published on Dec. 28 indicate that the motorcycle manufacturer filed a lawsuit in its home state of Wisconsin seeking millions in punitive and compensatory damages and demanding that Affliction Clothing cease any further infringements of trademarks protected under U.S. intellectual property laws.

According to reports, the intellectual property dispute began when a shipment of clothing manufactured by Afflicted was sent to a Harley-Davidson dealer. When the clothing was examined, the dealer noticed strong similarities between the branding used on several items of Afflicted apparel and Harley-Davidson's trademarked Bar and Shield logo. Afflicted is said to have responded to a cease-and-desist letter sent by Harley-Davidson attorneys on Oct. 18 by offering to halt the sale of six items. However, this did not go far enough to satisfy Harley-Davidson and prevent the dispute from escalating.

Hollywood intellectual property dispute erupts over digital codes

In the two corners of a Hollywood dispute is a pair of heavyweights: the largest DVD rental firm in the U.S., Redbox, and the much, much bigger Walt Disney Co.; a colossus so large that it recently announced that it plans to gobble up much of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion.

Disney recently filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop Redbox from selling digital codes that unlock digital copies of its movies. The entertainment giant filed a lawsuit late last month in which it alleged that Redbox is disassembling Disney combo packs and selling off the pieces.

Public figures and defamation: a whole new ballgame

Filing a claim for defamation (a charge that another person has unjustly injured one's reputation) can be a relatively straightforward matter for most people.

That is, the proof elements are fairly clear. An alleged false statement offered as fact must have been unprivileged and resulted in some personal damage (or at least had a reasonable tendency to bring about that result). Additionally, it must have been spoken (slander) or written (libel) in a manner that was at least negligent.

Big names vie in trademark, copyright litigation

A California federal judge has now spent more than a year overseeing an intellectual property dispute involving big-time names in the entertainment industry.

One side of the ongoing spat features the estate of Theodor Geisel. Readers not readily noting that name are likely familiar with the pseudonym adopted by Geisel: Dr. Seuss.

3 questions to ask before covering a song

In the age of viral videos featuring cute kids singing songs on YouTube, covering another artist’s music seems standard. Even with the ubiquity of cover songs, it’s still important to make sure that before you record music written and performed by another artist you have the right permission.

Here are three questions to ask yourself before you start strumming those familiar chords.

Retailers expect illegal merch to go unnoticed

Walk into any trendy store and you’ll see it: the classic band tee.

Retailers have long partnered with musicians and pop icons in a mutually beneficial relationship. The celebrity reaches a wider audience and receives a commission on brand merchandise while the retailer makes money from frequently in-demand products. The two parties also gain brand associations that can make both seem more attractive to certain groups of consumers.

The science behind celebrity endorsements

Celebrity endorsements have been shown to cause significant spikes in business for a given company. A celebrity’s endorsement generally causes a company’s sales increase an average of 4 percent relative to its competition—for some companies, that can mean millions of dollars.

So what is it about celebrities that makes their endorsements so appealing to consumers? As it turns out, it isn’t just about fame: There are some fascinating scientific facts behind why celebrity promotions are so successful.