Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

July 2017 Archives

After serving nine years in prison for robbery and kidnapping, O.J. Simpson was granted parole today. "I've done my time," Simpson told the Nevada Board of Parole. "I've done it as well and as respectfully as I think anyone can."

The parole board was unanimous in its decision, and is now mulling Simpson's release date, which could come as early as October.

Gwen Stefani may be wishing she didn't speak a few fateful phrases last July during a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stefani, while performing at the PNC Pavilion, instructed the crowd seated in the lawn section behind the actual music pavilion to come into the reserved seating area and to "just fill in anywhere you like."

After issuing that instruction from the stage, the crowd rushed the stage, getting past security personnel, breaking through security barricades and other security devices. During the rush to the reserved seating area, plaintiff Lisa Sticklin, who was seated in the reserved seating area, was trampled. Fortunately, her injuries were not fatal, however, she did suffer a broken tibia, and no doubt, suffered needless pain and suffering.

The Tupac Shakur biopic, All Eyez on Me, has certainly garnered quite a bit of media attention since its release in June 2017. However, in addition to the criticism on social media that the film misrepresents Tupac's life, a lawsuit has been filed claiming the film violates copyright law.

The copyright infringement case was filed by Kevin Powell, a former writer for VIBE magazine, who wrote three of the most widely read biographical articles on Tupac in 1994, 1995, and 1996. Powell alleges that his articles, along with his own life story, were used as the basis for the film, and that the film even stole the creative embellishments he added into the articles to protect Tupac.

The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, who is widely considered the father of modern fantasy literature, has settled the $80 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. as a result of a dispute over the merchandising rights for "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" movies. The films were adapted from Tolkien's seminal works by the same name, which were licensed to United Artists back in 1969.

At the heart of this dispute were allegations that Warner Bros., the distributor for United Artists, had gone overboard with their merchandising. Tolkien's estate asserted that the limited merchandising rights did not extend to all the different products being made, especially the casino slot machines that were named and based upon Tolkien's works. While no dollar amount has been publicly stated related to the lawsuit, one can only imagine that it is substantial, given that Tolkien's estate was willing to settle and publicly state the settlement was amicable.

This past week, Sir Paul McCartney was finally able to regain the copyrights to much of the Beatles' music catalog. The acquisition was part of a confidential settlement agreement related to a lawsuit filed this past January by McCartney seeking to regain individual songs that would meet the 56-year-old requirement in 2018.

The Beatles first single, Love Me Do, was released in 1962. So, by next year, the songs on that first album would be 56 years old. Under the Copyright Act, artists have the right to regain their copyrights after 56 years (or 35 years depending on the date of copyright), which cannot be waived by agreement.

The Jenner sisters, Kendall and Kylie, have been on the receiving end of cease and desist letters from the estates of celebrities due to some t-shirts the two sold. Most recently, a cease and desist letter sent by the estate of Jim Morrison, the late great frontman for the Doors, blasted the sisters for their unauthorized use of the Doors trademark, as well as violating Morrison's post-mortem publicity rights.

The tees featured an image of Kendall superimposed over an iconic and well-known image of Jim Morrison that was used to promote the Doors. This specific shirt was just one of a line of vintage style t-shirts that feature well-known musical artists' work modified to superimpose images of the sisters.