Entertainment Marketing

On Feb. 20, 2009 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law banning the sale or rental of “violent video games” to minors and requiring such games to be labeled “18” (the legal age for adults). While this decision may surprise some California lawmakers and parents, its holding is fully consistent with substantial U.S. Supreme Court precedent entitling minors to a signifi cant measure of First Amendment protection, and leaving parents with the duty to supervise “appropriate” content.

Continue Reading A New Game Plan

In deciding whether the unauthorized use of a third party’s name, voice, likeness or persona (collectively, “Image”) violates such third party’s publicity rights, the first level of inquiry is whether the use is properly categorized as a “commercial” or a “non-commercial” use.  If an Image is used without permission in a non-commercial or “newsworthy” context, such use is generally protected so long as the Image used is reasonably related to the aspect of the use that makes it newsworthy, and so long as less than the Image owner’s “entire act” is used.

Distinguishing between commercial and non-commercial uses is a context-specific inquiry, and describing the precedent on that issue is beyond the scope of this article.  But where the underlying use is concededly non-commercial, such that permission does not need to be obtained from the person whose Image is depicted, this Adbriefs blog post briefly addresses whether the Image can also be used to advertise or promote the underlying use without giving rise to a valid right of publicity claim by the person whose Image is depicted.

Continue Reading Between Cher And Joe Montana – When Is It Okay To Use A Person’s Image To Advertise A Protected Use Of That Image?

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for technology licenses of all types, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California recently held that the first sale doctrine permits a recipient of promotional CDs to sell them online without violating the license pursuant to which the CDs were distributed and without being liable for copyright infringement.  UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Augusto, No. CV 07-03106, slip op. (C.D. Cal. June 10, 2008).  The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and rejected Universal Music Group’s (“UMG”) argument that the labeling on the promotional CDs created a license without transferring title.

Continue Reading UMG v. Augusto: Allowing the Sale of Promotional CDs Under the First Sale Doctrine Could Affect Much More than the Music Industry

Although the WGA strike is reportedly near an end, the strike has naturally made it harder to find paid acting jobs in film and television, causing a greater number of Hollywood celebrities (and their agents and other reps) to pursue endorsement opportunities and the money that follows.  The money, however, doesn’t just go to the celebrities and their reps.  It also goes to the trustees of the applicable guild’s Pension and Health Plan.  The amounts being claimed by the trustees, and in some cases the threshold issue of whether the trustees are entitled to ANY amounts, are increasingly being challenged.  This blog entry briefly discusses the allocation issue and the jurisdiction issue.

Continue Reading Endorsement Agreements: Guild Jurisdiction And Allocation Guidelines Both Being Challenged