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First off today, Josh Russell at Courthouse News reports that a judge has refused to completely dismiss a lawsuit filed by advertising agency Betty Inc. against PepsiCo Inc that accuses the soda giant of infringing its concept for a Super Bowl halftime commercial.
According to the lawsuit, Betty Inc. came up with the concept of a “human jukebox” commercial that featured fashions and dance styles changing as the music did. Betty claims to have pitched the concept to PepsiCo only to have the company run with it and not pay them the agreed-upon $5,000 fee for the concept. Betty further claims that, after hearing about the planned lawsuit, PepsiCo attempted to pay the $5,000 fee but Betty Inc refused it.
Though the judge dismissed most of the surrounding claims, such as unjust enrichment and unfair competition, the judge is permitting the lawsuit to move forward on copyright infringement grounds. According to the judge, there are sufficient similarities between PepsiCo’s commercial and Betty Inc’s concept that the lawsuit could succeed.
Next up today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Spinrilla is asking for the phone records of an expert witness in it its ongoing battle with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) saying that the record labels might have “gotten to” him.
In February the RIAA and its member labels filed a lawsuit against Spinrilla, a hip hop streaming website, for copyright infringement. In August Spinrilla says their attorney contacted William Rosenblatt, an expert witness in digital media and copyright issues. However, Rosenblatt said that he was on vacation at the time of the call and that, when he returned, he was too busy to take the gig.
According to Rosenblatt and his attorney, Spinrilla’s attorneys repeatedly asked him if he had been contacted by the record labels and dissuaded from taking the case. Earlier this month, Spinrilla had filed a subpoena asking for the complete personal and business communications records from Rosenblatt during the week after the initial contact. Rosenblatt’s attorney has said that this is “the very epitome of litigation paranoia” and is asking for the subpoena to be quashed.
Finally today, Polly Mosendz and Kim Bhasin at Bloomberg report that a costume company has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Kmart alleging that the retail chain is selling knockoff versions of heir banana costume.
The lawsuit was filed by Silvertop Associates Inc., a costume manufacturer that sells under the label Rasta Imposta. According to the lawsuit, they had been selling their banana costumes to Kmart for years before they failed to reach an agreement for this year. Shortly thereafter, Rasta Imposta claims they learned that KMart is selling a “direct replication and knockoff” of their copyrighted banana design.
As such, they have filed a lawsuit against KMart alleging copyright infringement, trade dress infringement and unfair competition.
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.