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First off today, The BBC is reporting that Grumpy Cat, or at least his owner, has emerged victorious in her battle against a US coffee company over the alleged misuse of his copyrights and trademarks.
Grumpy Cat, real name Tardar Sauce, became famous in 2012 after his permanent scowl made him and internet icon. Grumpy Cat Limited, an organization that holds the rights to Grumpy Cat, struck a deal with the coffee company Grenade to make a “Grumppuccino” iced drink. However, according to Grumpy Cat Limited, Grenade overstepped its bounds and made additional Grumpy Cat themed drinks and also sold other merchandise.
This led to a 2015 lawsuit accusing Grenade of violating both copyright and trademarks held by Grumpy Cat Limited. Grenade countersued saying that Grumpy Cat Limited had not held up their end of the bargain, providing inadequate promotion for the product. However, the jury sided solely with the cat and awarded them $710,000 in damages for violations of copyright and trademark. It also awarded nominal damages of $1 for breach of contract. Grumpy cat did appear during the trial but was not at the reading of the verdict.
Next up today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Jessica Simpson is facing a copyright lawsuit for posting a paparazzi photo of herself on her social media.
The lawsuit, filed by Splash News and Picture Agency, claims that it granted a limited license to The Daily Mail to publish the image but Simpson, took a copy of the photograph and distributed it on Instagram within hours of its original publication.
According to Splash, this sharing hurt the potential market for the work and, as such, they are asking for damages, attorneys fees and an injunction against further sharing of the image.
Finally today, Robert Levine at Billboard reports that the American Law Institute has announced it will alter the format of its planned “restatement” of copyright law following strong criticism of the proposal.
American Law Institute is well known for its restatements, which examines both the law itself and the case law that surrounds a topic. Though it’s a private company and can’t directly impact the courts, it’s restatements are well respected and often cited by judges and lawyers alike.
However, since copyright law is a federal statute, many, including the U.S. Copyright Office, expressed concern that it would delve too deep into areas generally covered under “common law”. According to the Acting U.S. Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple, the original plan would have been an attempt to createa “a pseudo-version of the Copyright Act.” The American Law Institute has said it will continue with the project they are changing the format to make it less authoritative and calm the concerns over the restatement. .
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.