Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

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Gary Goldman, the screenwriter for 90s classic science fiction film 'Total Recall,' has filed suit against Disney for allegedly stealing the characters, concepts, plot and sub-plots, verbatim dialogue, and even the name he created for his animated talking animals project, 'Zootopia.'

Goldman has alleged that he pitched his idea to Disney twice, once around 2000, and again almost a decade later. His lawsuit includes the drawings of his cute cartoon characters, alongside their alleged counterparts in the Disney film, in an attempt to show the striking similarities. Despite how cute the pleading may look, there are some real big allegations being cast at Disney.

The Taylor Swift, or more accurately, the TAS Rights Management Company, has recently filed for several different trademarks including multiple iterations of the word "swiftie." In case you don't know, or couldn't just figure it out, a "swiftie" is a person who identifies as a Taylor Swift fan so much so that their fandom is actually a personality trait for them.

So what does the trademark filing mean? Despite reports claiming that Swift has various plans for using the newly trademarked terms, very little is actually known about her plans. Among the speculation, though, are claims that Swift may be planning to start a summer camp, or other educational service, activity, or event, as well as potentially marketing a video game similar to the Kardashian's highly criticized freemium app.

Rihanna, the pop mogul, and fashion and fragrance designer, has found herself facing a trademark infringement lawsuit over the name of her latest fragrance: Kiss by Rihanna. A cosmetics company named Kiss is asserting that Rihanna's latest fragrance, which they have absolutely nothing to do with manufacturing or selling, violates their trademark of the name Kiss as it relates to beauty products.

The Kiss cosmetics company has stated that Rihanna did not obtain permission or a license to use their trademarked name in connection with her fragrance, nor did she comply with the company's requests that Rihanna stop making and selling the fragrance under that name. As such, they had to file a lawsuit against the pop star.

Although imitation may be considered by some as the sincerest form of flattery, in the music industry and art world, it's usually considered the basis for a lawsuit.

The estate of Messy Mya, a.k.a. Anthony Barre, a YouTube star that was killed in 2010, is suing superstar Beyonce for $20 million due to an alleged theft of samples. The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages for unpaid royalties and copyright infringement not just from the song sales, but also from the unauthorized use of Mya's work during concerts and in music videos. Barre's estate asserts that Beyonce ignored requests to negotiate the matter.

Richard Carpenter, the surviving member of his famous band, the Carpenters, knew exactly where to go after settlement negotiations broke down between him and Universal Music Group. Carpenter has filed a lawsuit against UMG on his own behalf, and on behalf of the estate of his dead sister and former bandmate, Karen Carpenter, for unpaid royalties. The lawsuit alleges that UMG owes over $2.3 million in unpaid royalties to the group, and that's only going back to 2008.

The bulk of the unpaid royalties come from digital downloads, which UMG allegedly handled as if it were the sale of a physical record or other album, rather than a type of license. In 2010, the Ninth Circuit ruled in a case for the artist Eminem that downloads should be treated as licensing deals. Unfortunately for UMG, the Carpenters' contract called for a much higher royalty for licensing deals than album sales.

Rick Ross has got to be feeling pretty smart after a California Federal Court officially ruled that he can use the word "Mastermind" for the title of the album he already released in 2014, and as his self appointed nickname. Another rapper, lesser known Raul Caiz, had trademarked the name years ago, but never achieved notoriety. When Caiz learned of Ross's newest album, he filed a $2 million trademark infringement lawsuit last year after his cease and desist letter went unanswered. Caiz claims to have used the name Mastermind over his 17 year music career and that Ross's use of the album name and nickname was likely to cause confusion.

In response to the lawsuit, Rick Ross filed a counterclaim seeking to have Caiz's trademark cancelled as being overly broad. Recently, the federal court judge dismissed Caiz's claims and granted Ross's request to cancel Caiz's trademark.

The Jiggaman may be wondering what is going on after getting sued by the now deceased artist known as Prince. This week, Prince's companies filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Jay-Z's company Roc Nation, for allegedly streaming Prince's music on the Tidal streaming service without permission.

While Prince's companies concede that Tidal has authorization to stream one of Prince's albums, the suit is focused on the streaming of several songs not on the one album, as well as the unauthorized use of Prince's images. Perhaps the Roc Nation thought they'd be able to get away with a little copyright infringement after Prince's death this past April, or perhaps there's more to it.

Any Star Wars fan will tell you that Jedi mind tricks are cool and all, but having some sick lightsaber skills is where it's at. Perhaps that's why so many academies have popped up across the country, promising to teach self-styled padawans in the ways of the Force and lightsaber choreography.

But George Lucas's empire is striking back. Lucasfilm has filed a federal lawsuit against the owner of Lightsaber Academy, claiming the schools infringe on the films' trademarks without authorization, and sending legal ripples throughout the galaxy.

The fight over the music catalog of iconic American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone, may soon be over as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gets ready to enter the fray. The legendary artist died in April 2003 at the age of 70. Her ex-husband, ex-attorney, and former studios are all claiming some rights to the music catalog.

The fight in the Federal Northern District Court of California has been ongoing since as early as 2008, and 2007 in the Federal Court in New York. The claims have been made back and forth, with each party counterclaiming against the other for various causes of action all geared at establishing ownership of the deceased artist's music. Then, in 2012, when the ex-husband, Stroud, died, things became even more complicated.

One of the 'This is Spinal Tap' co-creators, Harry Shearer, filed suit against Vivendi and Studio Canal, which acquired the film's rights from Embassy Pictures, for alleged fraud and misrepresentation. The lawsuit is based on the fact that Shearer, and everyone around the world for that matter, has seen the enormous success that the film has enjoyed for three decades now, yet Shearer and his fellow co-creators have not even received $200 from the merchandising.

Shearer claims that the deal the creators originally signed in 1982 guaranteed them 40 percent of the net earnings. Shearer is also claiming that Vivendi has used Spinal Tap over the years to offset other losses in an attempt to cover up the studio's shortcomings and cheat the Spinal Tap creators out of money.