U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

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Publishers Escape Liability in E-Book Antitrust Case

A federal appeals court said book publishers violated antitrust laws by conspiring to change prices for ebooks, but they did not injure the retailers who sued them over it.

In Diesel eBooks v. Simon & Schuster, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said the retailers could not prove by the publishers caused their losses. The decision also spared further embarrassment for Apple, which was forced to pay a record fine in a related matter.

"We have ruled that the publisher Defendants and Apple did indeed conspire
unlawfully to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Act," the judges said, referencing
United States v. Apple. However, the court said the conspiracy did not cause the plaintiffs any damage in this case.

Capitol Records Music Infringement Case Going to SCOTUS

Can't I get a witness? Can't I get a witness?

Capitol Records could have hoped so. The company lost at trial and then appeal over lip-dubbed music recordings, so now its lawyers are are going to the highest court in the land.

The case involves music recorded before 1972, and whether Section 301(c) of the Copyright Act's remedies for infringement survived the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA shields internet service providers from some actions taken by their users, but the Copyright Act leaves infringement protection for pre-1972 recordings to the states.

'Pudgie's' Mark Back in the Hands of Original Family Company

A trademark dispute over Pudgie's pizza and pasta chain made its way up to the Second Circuit recently, as members of this "once-convivial family" fought over control of the Pudgie's franchise.

The dispute pit cousin against cousin in an almost-literal food fight over who had the rights to the Pudgie's mark, and whether one cousin had obtained those rights by fraud.

2nd Cir. Rules in Vimeo's Favor; Good News for ISPs

The Second Circuit ruled in favor of Hi-Def video upload service Vimeo over allegations that the latter ignored red flags when its employees heard popular songs on the Vimeo's website. At the same time, it also affirmed the broad safe-harbor protections afforded under the DMCA, regardless of publication date of the copyrighted material.

It's a decision that made the EFF giddy with delight. It makes sense as the digital freedom group co-wrote an amicus in the case.

Google Books is quickly becoming the Library of Alexandria for the digital age, a vast collection of the world's written knowledge. There's no need to fly to Egypt to check it out, however. Google Books are available free, online, making Google the world's most accessible librarian.

But, as Google endeavors to make all written matter free, who will look out for the Dan Browns and E.L. Jameses of the world? The starving poets and struggling playwrights? Not the Supreme Court, which just rejected a challenge to the Google Books program by the Authors Guild, allowing the Second Circuit's pro-Google, anti-literature decision to stand.

2nd Circ. Passes on SiriusXM Radio Copyright Case

The Second Circuit's Court of Appeals decided to hold off on entering a potentially ground-moving decision involving class actions brought by members The Turtles, the rock group from the 70s. In the suit, they contended that federal copyright laws do not protect sound recordings made before 1972, and that state laws must apply.

If true, a favorable ruling would have potentially made bars, restaurants, and other venues mass copyright infringers.

50 Cent Wins in Copyright Infringement Case at the Second Circuit

The rapper 50 Cent was given a victory in court by the Second Circuit's Court of Appeals by tossing out the copyright suit "Young Caliber" brought against him.

But rather than something as complex as a debate over exclusive or non-exclusive use of copyright, it turns out that the plaintiff's downfall was the age old laches.

Russian Firm May Sue Over Vodka Rights in U.S., 2nd Cir. Rules

Stolichnaya, the famous Vodka brand that made its fame in the United States during the 80s, has been the subject of a long and bitter decades' long suit over who owns the venerable Russian brand. Now, it looks like a minion of the Russian state can sue a group of successor companies that arose out of the ashes of the Soviet Union's fall.

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit essentially invoked the Doctrines of Comity and Acts of State to save the suit from a lower district court's ruling that the plaintiff company in the state had no standing. Let's not step on any toes, shall we?

Google Library Book-Scanning Project Is Fair Use

More than a decade ago, Google announced what, at the time, seemed like an unbelievably ambitious extension of Google Print: it would create a massive online library of 15,000,000 digitally scanned books. We all know now, however, not to underestimate Google.

The project did raise the ire of a number of copyright holders and lawyers who claimed the project was a massive copyright violation and two suits followed. Well, the Second Circuit just sided with Google and ruled that the Google Books Library Project had met all the elements of "fair use."

'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' Rights Passed to Author's Family

Everyone knows the popular Christmas song, "Santa Clause is Comin' to Town." What's not so widely known is the story of the song's ownership. Currently, it's owned by Sony ... but not for much longer.

On Thursday, the Second Circuit ruled that the rights to the song will end in December of 2016 and will pass down to the descendants of John Frederick Coots, the original author.