3 Count: Ted Ex Lawsuit

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1: ‘Ted’ Copyright Suit Dismissed Against Universal & Seth MacFarlane

First off today, Dominic Patten at Deadline reports that Seth MacFarlane and Universal Pictures have won the lawsuit over the 2012 film Ted after the plaintiffs requested their suit be dismissed and the judge complied.

The lawsuit was brought by the producers of Charlie the Abusive Teddy and Acting School Academy, both of which feature a foul-mouthed bear protagonist that they felt was infringed by the titular character of Ted. Shortly after filing the lawsuit, discovery began and the plaintiffs stated looking for proof that Ted was based on their work.

However, it seems they didn’t find much evidence as the plaintiffs have said that they are now convinced that the Ted character was “independently created” and asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, which he has done. Both sides will bear their legal costs but, other than than that, no money changes hands.

2: ‘Happy Birthday’ a Cash Cow for Warner/Chappell

Next up today, Courthouse News Service reports that the Happy Birthday to You lawsuit had a hearing yesterday where the judge considered cross-motions for summary judgment. The biggest revelation from the hearing was that Warner/Chappell Music, the company that claims the rights to the song, says that licensing it can run “six figures” for large production films.

The class action lawsuit was filed by filmmaker Jennifer Nelson, who paid $1,500 to use a 10-second clip of the song at a festival. However, she alleges that Warner/Chappell has no right to demand such royalties as the song is based on Good Morning to All, which is in the public domain.

The judge did not rule immediately and took the case under submission.

3: DVDFab Legal Battle Continues with Amended Preliminary Injunction ” Also Targets TDMore

Finally today, Jan Willem Aldershoff at Myce reports that the trade group AACS-LA has won another round of injunctions against DVD ripping software DVDFab, however, it’s unlikely that the injunctions will have much impact on the sale of the software.

AACS-LA is the group that oversees the encryption technology used on DVDs, AACS. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), creating and selling tools that break such encryption, often called Digital Rights Management (DRM), is illegal. AACS-LA has used the DMCA to secure a series of injunctions barring the sale of DVDFab in the U.S., shuttering its social media accounts and even temporally halting its ability to accept payments.

However, DVDFab, a Chinese company, has persevered. With a Chinese domain and Chinese payment processor, the company has continued operations. The judge is now ordering both the domain to be seized and the payment processor to halt transactions, however, it’s unlikely to have an impact as there is little reason to believe Chinese courts will enforce a U.S. court order along these lines.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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