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Wizard of Oz Merch, Kosher Hot Dogs, and Iowa Campaign Finance

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on April 10, 2014 3:57 PM

Quite a few cases making the rounds in the Eighth Circuit are making headlines and deal with everything from Wizard of Oz merchandise, to kosher hot dogs. Here's a breakdown in the latest news out of the Eighth Circuit.

Iowa Campaign Finance Ban

In 2013, the Eighth Circuit upheld an Iowa law that "allow[s] for independent expenditures by corporations and unions but ... ban[s] ... direct contributions to candidates and committees by corporations," reports Reuters. An anti-abortion group challenged the ban, and petitioned for writ of certiorari, which the Supreme Court denied on Monday. This is highly interesting light of the Court's ruling last week in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission; it shows the Court has said all that it wants to for now on campaign finance.

"Wizard of Oz" Merchandise

Warner Bros. sued a company making unauthorized merchandise using images, from publicity materials that lacked copyright notices, in 2006 and has been involved in litigation since then. Warner Bros. claimed copyright, trademark and publicity rights infringement, and the defendants claimed that the subject matter (here "Gone With the Wind" and "Wizard of Oz") was in the public domain, reports The Hollywood Reporter. In a prior appeal, the Eighth Circuit distinguished between the copyright of the original written works, and the studio's copyrights in the movies. Back in district court, Judge Henry Edward Autrey ordered an award of $2.57 million in damages to Warner Bros.

Hot Dogs and Higher Authorities

A group of plaintiffs, that don't keep kosher, brought suit against ConAgra Foods Inc. alleging that they paid a premium for Hebrew National hot dogs and the hot dogs were not entirely kosher. The district judge dismissed the case, and on appeal the Eighth circuit reversed, reports Reuters. However, the case is not really a victory for the plaintiffs, the court merely found that the district court erred in dismissing the case, and should have sent it back to state court, and so it vacated the judgment and remanded with instructions to do so.

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