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Jay-Z Wins Copyright Infringement Case for 'Big Pimpin'

As of Thursday, Jay-Z's 99 problems no longer include a copyright challenge to his hit song "Big Pimpin." A panel of judges for the Ninth Circuit have ruled in the rapper's favor against the relative of an Egyptian composer who claimed "Big Pimpin" looped four measures of an Arabic flute from the composer's 1957 hit "Khosara." The panel's decision included an analysis of Egyptian law regarding economic and moral infringement rights.

Dr. Dre Can't Stop Gynecologist from Trademarking 'Dr. Drai'

Dr. Dre has about as much in common with a real doctor as Snoop Dogg has with Snoopy, or Eminem has with the delicious chocolate candy. But that didn't stop the famous rapper from trying to block a gynecologist from trademarking the name "Dr. Drai" as part of his medical practice. After a court battle, a judge has decided the real doctor is free to use his chosen moniker.

The best ideas have a ring of familiarity to them. That's why the best films and television shows are packed with either present-day authenticity or nostalgic elements from the past. Then again, there's a difference between, "Hey that looks familiar," and "Hey that was my idea."

Most fans of the hit Netflix series "Stranger Things" marvel at the array of period-specific elements, from costumes to set design and beyond. Filmmaker Charlie Kessler, on the other hand, looked at "Stranger Things" and said, "Hey that was my idea."

Between internet streaming, rights to deceased artists' work, politicians stealing songs for rallies, and remixes and sampling, music licensing has become a hot legal topic over the past decade. And in a time when so many artists are co-writing, co-performing, featuring, and guest appearing on other artists' work, figuring out who owns how much of a song can get pretty heated, especially when someone wants to use the song.

But a federal appeals court recently ended a standoff between the Department of Justice and songwriters and music publishers, ruling that a consent decree between the government and the publishers permits "fractional licensing," meaning that instead of one license for a song with multiple writers, users must obtain a license to use a song from each of the songwriters in order to use it. So how does that work?

A recent decision out of the Federal Central District Court of California in the Spinal Tap v. Vivendi lawsuit is making headlines as the case will be allowed to continue. The "band" is alleging that Vivendi failed to pay them royalties on the film and merchandising to the tune of over $400 million. From the mid-eighties to the mid-2000s, the band received less than $200 in royalties and merchandising combined, total; which is a complete and utter shock given the immense popularity of the movie and soundtrack, and merch.

Unfortunately for the band, their claim of fraud has been dismissed, along with three of the four members of the band. Only Christopher Guest (a.k.a. Nigel Tufnel) remains as a plaintiff in the lawsuit for now, as the other three sued under their business enterprises rather than as individuals. Federal judge Dolly Gee will allow the band to amend their lawsuit so that the other band members can get back on board as individuals, and will even allow the band to try to make their fraud claim again as well.

That might be you in the pic, but do you have the right to post it? That's the gist of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by photographer Peter Cepeda against model Gigi Hadid. Cepeda is claiming he has exclusive rights to a photo Hadid posted on her Instagram and Twitter accounts last summer.

The shot required "great technical skill and careful timing" according to Cepeda's complaint, but he wasn't credited with the pic and "numerous prominent, commercial, online publications copied and posted the Copyrighted Photograph, crediting Hadid or Instagram." So whose photo is it?

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.

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.

While some people only felt robbed of the price of admission and 3 hours and 14 minutes of their life after watching the 1997 film Titanic, a Florida man recently filed a lawsuit claiming James Cameron stole his family's story for the film. Stephen Cummings is seeking $300 million as well as a 1 percent ongoing royalty as a result of the alleged theft.

According to sources, Cummings is claiming that the story of Jack Dawson and Rose Bukater mirrors the story of his two relatives, a husband and wife couple aboard the Titanic. When the real ship sank, only the wife escaped. The actual tale, which Cummings was known to tell to friends, has other similarities to the one told in the movie.