9th Circuit Intellectual Property Law News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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Soon after Stephanie Lenz uploaded a YouTube video of her toddler dancing, she received a notice from Universal Music Group: take down the 29 second clip or risk being sued. Lenz's son had been baby-dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" ... and Universal said that use of the fuzzy background track violated copyright law.

The Pennsylvania mother didn't take down her video, however. Instead, she got pro bono representation from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and won big in the Ninth Circuit on Monday as the court announced that companies must consider fair use before sending take down notices. The ruling breaks new ground in IP law, protecting consumers from meritless copyright infringement threats.

The Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed an earlier injunction preventing Google and YouTube from hosting the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" film. That short, offensive and highly controversial film lead to violence and rioting in Egypt and elsewhere. It was briefly blamed for the attack on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Cindy Garcia, one of the actresses whose performance was manipulated in the film, had originally convinced the Ninth Circuit that she had a copyright interest in her scene, resulting in the take down order. That widely criticized decision was reversed today, with the court ruling that the prior decision got not just copyright law, but the First Amendment wrong.

Prenda Law Comes to 9th Cir., Predictably Dodges Questions

Tired of Prenda Law news? Yeah, we didn't think so. We're not either.

The disgraced, oft-sanctioned "law firm" that appeared to exist for the sole purpose of suing people for illegally downloading pornographic films, then extracting settlements from them, had its day before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week -- and things didn't go well.

Prenda Law is appealing a hilarious, Star Trek-themed order written by District Judge Otis Wright requiring Prenda Law's principals to pay sanctions and attorneys fees for their vexatious and evasive conduct.

Bob Marley's Heirs Win Trademark Dispute at 9th Cir.

Another day, another iconic 1960s musician's image going to federal court over trademark disputes. In August, the Ninth Circuit said that Jimi Hendrix's post-mortem publicity rights survived in Washington state, thanks to a state statute allowing it (otherwise, publicity rights don't normally survive death).

Last week, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict finding several companies violated the Lanham Act by using Bob Marley's image on T-shirts and other merchandise.

POM Wonderful Wins Suit Against Rival Pomegranate Juice Maker

Hot on the heels (at least in terms of court timelines) of winning a deceptive trade practices suit at the U.S. Supreme Court, POM Wonderful, fabled maker of pomegranate juice, won another suit at the Ninth Circuit. This time, POM Wonderful claimed that a rival company was improperly using its trademark, which might cause confusion.

On balance, said the court, a reasonable consumer could mistake a competitor's product for POM Wonderful's.

9 From the 9th: Trademark Tacking, Federal Tort Tolling, Church Signs

FindLaw's "SCOTUS Week" is coming to a close -- but wait, what's that? Overtime? Extra innings?

Exactly, and you have the Ninth Circuit to thank for the bonus coverage. Why? Because the Ninth Circuit has nine cases on the Supreme Court's docket so far -- one of which, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, has already been argued and blogged about on our In House blog.

What about the other eight? Here's Part 1 of our Ninth Circuit SCOTUS preview:

Jimi Hendrix Infringer Experiences 'Crash Landing' at 9th Cir.

A lawsuit over the licensing rights to Jimi Hendrix's likeness in Washington state threatened to place many undergraduate dorm rooms' decoration decisions in jeopardy. Thankfully, the Ninth Circuit stepped in to resolve the dispute so that there will be no shortage of Hendrix posters in college towns across America come move-in day.

Experience Hendrix owns Jimi Hendrix's post-mortem publicity rights in Washington state, and other Hendrix trademarks nationally. It licenses these to people like Andrew Pitsicalis, who create or license original art featuring depicting Hendrix. Pitsicalis, in turn, began licensing this artwork to others and also bought the domain names hendrixlicensing.com and hendrixartwork.com.

Roundup: Google v. Garcia Amended, No Dish Hopper Injunction

We've got a twin pack of updates for you on this midsummer Monday afternoon, both involving preliminary injunctions, video content, and non-traditional distribution mediums.

In one case, which pits a major television network against an alternative video distribution medium (it's almost Aereo part II), the panel declined to issue a preliminary injunction. In the other, we have a bit of backtracking (but not enough) by the panel in an amended opinion in a dangerous precedential case that imposed prior restraint on speech on the basis of a questionable copyright claim.

The Ninth Circuit can add another notch to its "Supreme Court reversal belt."

On Monday, the Court reversed a Ninth Circuit judgment dismissing a copyright heir's claim on the basis of laches. Finding the court's judgment in error, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded.

Which 9th Circuit Judges Failed to Recuse, Despite a Conflict?

A few weeks ago, we got a crash course in recusals and unrecusals, when Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito sold stocks and "unrecused" from two cases being before the high court.

While it's common sense that Federal judges would be required to self-recuse if their financial holdings lead to a conflict of interest, the unrecusal tax break, for when judges sell stock to remove a conflict, was a fun surprise. And as you might expect, courts have adopted conflict screening systems to ensure that these mandated recusals actually happen.

Even with a system in place, however, a few conflicts were overlooked.