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9th Circuit Chops Down Artists' Royalty Law

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals chopped down California's royalties law for visual artists -- again.

In 2015, the federal appeals court said one part of the California Resale Royalties Act was unconstitutional. The artists sued again, and wound up right back where they started from.

In Close v. Southeby's, Inc., the Ninth Circuit said federal law preempts the state law and applies only to art sold before the U.S. Copyright Act. As a result, the artists litigated for seven years over one year of resale royalties.

In what is surely an upset to many investors, but particularly to the potential class representatives who were seeking to hold Theranos liable for misrepresenting their technology, a federal judge in the Northern District of California has denied their motion for class certification. For Theranos, this may be the first break they've caught in a while (though it could be appealed or potentially refiled).

In short, the court found that the plaintiffs' claims were best resolved as individual claims due to the issue of reliance requiring individualized assessments. Central to the class claims is the assertion that the investors relied on Theranos's representations to the public in investing money in firms that would invest in Theranos. And while federal law would protect Theranos from indirect investors, California law does not.

After a long drawn out battle over a song that was released nearly 20 years ago, this case may be getting some finality -- or maybe it's just a little closer.

It's no secret that the song Big Pimpin features a significant sample from the song Khosara Khosara. Listening to the two, it's clear. Interestingly, Timbaland actually did pay $100,000 to license the song. And luckily for the U.S. artists, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Osama Ahmed Fahmy's claims against Jay-Z and Timbaland lacked standing.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just granted Facebook a brief reprieve from an "embarrassing" upcoming class action trial where they are accused of illegally harvesting biometric "faceprint" data. The appellate court did so by granting a stay of the proceedings pending resolution of an appeal of the class certification.

The case involves Facebook's alleged violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. And, according to Facebook's recent filings, it fought hard to get around the district court judge's order that the social media company contact all affected class members via Facebook. The social media giant claims that doing so would cause irreparable reputational damage and embarrassment.

9th Circuit Splits Shoes in Trademark Case

The Stan Smith is a shoe, but not just any shoe.

It was "Shoe of the Year," with 40 million pairs of the adidas brand sold world-wide in 2014. But then Skechers, a relative newcomer in the shoe business, went and took all that glory.

A legal battle over the trademark shoe followed, and a trial judge ordered Skechers to stop selling infringing shoes. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, puts its foot down in Adidas America v. Skechers USA.

Apple v. Samsung Patent Case Back in Court

In law and in sports, sometimes the game is over long before the final score.

That's what is happening in Apple v. Samsung, a patent infringement case pending in a California federal court. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $399 million award to Apple and sent it back for further proceedings.

The high court having framed the issue, the trial court will have to bring it home. It's a big game for tech companies that are waiting to see how much Apple wins this time.

Ninth Circuit Not Amused by Selfie-Monkey Copyright Claim

Naruto, the smiling selfie-monkey, got no love from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dissing the animal rights group that sued for him, the appeals court said animals don't have copyrights. The case attracted global attention because the macaque actually took his own picture, but that did not seem to impress the federal judges.

The Ninth Circuit handed the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals a loss in Naruto v. Slater, saying all the macaque really lost was its so-called "friends."

A three judge panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the family and heirs of Marvin Gaye in the appeal filed by Robyn Thicke and Pharrell Williams. The pop stars appealed the district court's ruling on summary judgment as well as the court's handling of several issues at trial.

Unfortunately for the litigious pop stars, the Ninth Circuit panel ruled that there was no error at trial that could save them, and that the jury's verdict precludes the appeal of the summary judgment ruling. Notably though, rapper T.I. and Interscope Records, whom the jury returned not guilty verdicts for and the lower court held liable regardless, were let off the hook by the appellate panel.

'Stairway to Heaven' Lawsuit Plays Out in Ninth Circuit

Randy California may have made it to heaven, but his lawsuit over the song "Stairway to Heaven" is stuck in federal court.

California, the late guitarist, claimed to have written a song that Led Zeppelin copied to record "Stairway to Heaven." Michael Skidmore brought the copyright infringement suit on his behalf, but a jury decided the songs were not substantially similar.

In arguments to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Skidmore's attorney said the trial judge erred by not allowing jurors to hear California's full composition. Perhaps the judge didn't like rock, but the appeals court wanted to hear more.

Court: Photographer Can't Copyright Michael Jordan's 'Jumpman' Pose

For all his fame, Michael Jordan is best known to basketball fans for his signature flight to the hoop.

"I Believe I Can Fly," the song, comes in a close second. But even that is based on his gravity-defying dunks that earned him the title of "His Airness."

"The Jumpman" also earned him a whole lot of money when Nike used the pose to create a logo for Air Jordan basketball shoes. A photographer who captured Jordan in the same pose wanted some of that, but he's not getting any in Rentmeester v. Nike, Inc.