News

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Tim McGraw-Curb Case

The Tennessee Supreme Court has refused to hear Curb Record’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that Tim McGraw was free to record with whomever he wished while his legal fight with his longtime label continued through the court system, the Tennessean's music blog reports. McGraw recently released “Two Lanes of Freedom” with Big Machine Records, the first album of his career not to be released on Curb.

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Perfume Patent Holder Sued for Defamation

Derek Bishopp, the inventor of the now ubiquitous pull-apart paper strip used by perfume advertisements in consumer magazines, is being sued by Chattanooga company Arcade Inc. for defamation, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Bishopp posted online allegations and other negative comments alleging Arcade owes him nearly $3 million stemming from a 1993 contract. Attorneys for Arcade claim the contract was fulfilled years ago and have asked Hamilton Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams to stop Bishopp from continuing disparaging statements.

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Patent Attorney Merges Science Background with Law

After obtaining his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, Hermant Gupta prepared for a promising career in medical research until he met a patent lawyer. Instead of completing his master degree as he originally intended, Gupta entered the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. He is now one of a handful of patent lawyers in private practice in Memphis. The Memphis Daily News has more in its Law Talk column

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Court Asked to Review Landmark File-Sharing Case

Infamous file-sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to review a jury’s conclusion that she pay the recording industry $222,000 for downloading and sharing two dozen copyrighted songs on the now-defunct file-sharing service Kazaa. Thomas-Rasset, the first person to defend herself against a file-sharing case, said the damages were unconstitutionally excessive and were not rationally related to the harm she caused to the labels. The court previously declined two other file-sharing cases brought before it. Learn more about the case on Wired.com

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Senate Approves Increased Email Privacy Legislation

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge before allowing a person’s email or other electronic communication to be reviewed. The bill makes it slightly more difficult for the government to access the content of a consumer’s emails and private files from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and other sources. Under the current law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Ac, a warrant is needed only for emails less than 6 months old.

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3 Settle in DOJ E-Book Lawsuit

Three companies involved in an e-book pricing lawsuit have settled and agreed to fund a $69 million pool to pay 30 cents to $1.32 per book credit to consumers who bought qualifying e-books between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. Apple, Mcmillan, and Penguin opted not to settle and will go to trial next June in the suit filed in April by the Department of Justice,  WCYB News reports.

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Twitter Turns Over Tweets in 'Occupy' Case

Twitter today agreed to hand over about three months' worth of tweets to a judge overseeing the criminal trial of an Occupy Wall Street protester, the Associated Press reports. The case has become closely watched in the fight over how much access law enforcement agencies should have to material posted on social networks. The social networking site had been threatened with steep fines if it did not comply with Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr.'s order to turn over the records in the case of Malcolm Harris. The judge said he would keep the records sealed until after a Sept. 21 hearing challenging his ruling on the messages.

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Decade-Long Music Ownership Battle Ends

The 10-year legal battle over ownership rights to the 1993 hit song “Whoomp! (There It Is)” finally concluded with a $2 million award, The Tennessean reports. A Texas jury found in favor of Alvertis Isbell and his attorney Richard Busch of the Nashville firm King & Ballow over ownership rights to the composition.

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File Sharing Opinion Avoids Ruling on Key Issue

Recording companies are entitled to the $222,000 in damages that they were awarded in a 2007 file-sharing case, but an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision issued today in St. Louis did not decide on whether a federal district court in Minnesota erred by ordering a new trial after that first verdict. Read more in the ABA Journal.

Tennessee to Get $1.2 Million from E-Book Settlement

Tennessee will get $1.2 million from a settlement over e-book price fixing, according to the Nashville Business Journal. The agreement with the attorneys general for 54 states and territories was reached with three major publishers: Hachette, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster. The publishers agreed to a total fine of $69 million. Macmillan, Penguin and Apple declined to participate in the settlement. A federal lawsuit against them is pending.

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Apple Wins Big in Patent Case, Seeks Injunction on Samsung Phones

Apple won a $1.05 billion victory Friday in its suit against Samsung, and today requested a preliminary injunction on eight out of 28 Samsung products found to be infringing Apple patents, the New York Times reports. If the jury award isn't brought down by post-trial motions or appeals it will be the largest patent verdict in history. The nine jurors in the case, who faced the daunting task of answering more than 700 questions on sometimes highly technical matters, returned a verdict after just three days of deliberations at a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif.

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Olympics Keep Tight Rein on Social Media, Marketing

During what's been dubbed the first "social media" Olympics, the International Olympic Committee is encouraging athletes to share their experiences with the world. Its social media guidelines suggest that they communicate "in first-person, diary-type format." But the medal hopefuls will have to watch what they post, blog, and tweet because the IOC, as the owner of the Games (and author of the Olympic Charter), has set limits on what they can say. There are similar strict controls on related marketing and advertising. Amy Savela, associate general counsel for marketing at the U.S. Olympic Committee, says that she and the legal department there will be monitoring a running list of social media concerns ranging from the language that companies use to talk about athletes and the Games to what athletes themselves say. Law.com has the details

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Twitter Must Give Up Tweets in 'Occupy' Case

Twitter must give a court about three months' worth of an Occupy Wall Street protester's tweets, a judge said in a ruling released today after the company fought prosecutors' demand for the messages. Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. rebuffed one of Twitter Inc.'s central arguments, the Associated Press reports, which concerned who has rights to contest law enforcement demands for content posted on its site.

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National Magazine Explores Copyright With Help From Local Lawyer

Nashville lawyer Stephen Zralek is interviewed in this month's ABA Journal cover story, which explores the unique business model that several newspaper publishers adopted to sue more than 250 individuals and entities around the world for copyright infringement. Zralek, who successfully defended one of these cases in federal court in Las Vegas, talks about the costs of litigating copyright disputes. “There are times when worthy plaintiffs can’t afford an hourly rate and can’t convince a lawyer to take it on contingency,” he says. "For someone who has a valuable work and there’s clear infringement -- and they have ability to pay and they would lose more money than not litigating -- the answer is simple.” Read the story

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Does Pinterest Infringe on Copyrights?

The new Pinterest internet craze is raising concerns about copyright infringement. One of the most important related precedents was set when Google was taken to court for copyright infringement over thumbnail images that didn't properly attribute rights holders. The courts ruled in Google's favor, and a new precedent was set in 2007. Both Pinterest and its detractors cite the case in their support. Pinterest defenders claim what it does closely parallels Google, and is therefore protected by the same fair use laws. Detractors argue that because Pinterest is circulating content much larger than a thumbnail and using full-resolution images, the laws that shielded Google don't apply.  WSMV has this story.

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