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Court Renews Copyright Case Against Timberlake

If you know Milli Vanilli, Justin Timberlake is no Milli Vanilli.

The Milli duo lost their Grammy because they didn't actually sing their award-winning song. They went down as the best lip syncers, instead.

Timberlake, at least, sings his songs. However, a federal appeals court says he might owe another band for sampling their song.

It may not be an old fisherman's tale, but when a group of Wall Street investors and seafood loving friends opened The Sloppy Tuna restaurant in Montauk in 2011, they likely didn't expect to be embroiled in litigation, especially against each other.

However, the Sloppy Tuna owners split up the business in typical corporate protect-against-exposure style. There was a business that owned the property, another that ran the operations, and a third that owned the IP. And when one of the two owners of the business that held the IP was ousted from the Wall Street investment group they all belonged to, litigation commenced over that IP and more.

According to one federal judge's reading of the law, if a website embeds another's copyright violation, that's a copyright violation. And while some folks who write on the internet might be up in arms about the recent decision holding such, as embedding is a common practice, there's more to it than most media outlets are letting on, and it's not the end of the internet.

For starters, the court decided a rather narrow issue. The parties basically asked the court to clarify whether it was a copyright violation to display another person's copyright violation via embedding. Not surprisingly, the court found that yes, republishing another person's copyright violation, even if you're not hosting the image and just creating a box where it is called forth from the bellows of the internet, it's still displaying the copyrighted content in violation of the law.

Puzzle Maker Sues Over Rubik's Cube Trademark

Did you see the kid who did a Rubik's Cube in less than five seconds?

That's faster than most Corvettes can do zero-to-sixty. That's faster than a Wall Street crash.

And that's about how long it took -- give or take a week -- to sue the Rubik's company after it dismissed a lawsuit against a competitor. In Cubicle Enterprises, LLC v. Rubik's Brand Limited, the New York-based puzzle maker claims Rubik's patents have expired.

$5M Sanctions Upheld for Counterfeit Headphones

A $5 million sanction by any measure is a stiff penalty.

But a $5 million discovery sanction is about as stiff as they get. The last time somebody abused a discovery that costly, it was when Rose threw the diamonds into the ocean in Titanic.

Mixed metaphors aside, this epic sanction could well sink the defendant in Klipsch Group, Inc. v. ePRO E-Commerce Limited. After all, that was pretty much the point.

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.