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First off today, Michelle Kaminsky at Forbes reports that the band Nirvana is suing Marc Jacobs International claiming that the fashion company is infringing the copyright they hold in their smiley face logo.
The late Kurt Cobain created the logo in 1991. The logo, which features a line drawing of a smiley with a squiggly mouth and its tongue hanging out, because synonymous with the band in the 90s. A similar smile face recently began to appear on Marc Jacobs’ shirts but, instead of featuring the band name at the top, it had the word “Heaven”.
The lawsuit, which as filed in the District of Central California, claims that Marc Jacobs has caused the band “irreparable injuries” and is threatening to “dilute the value of Nirvana’s licenses.” The lawsuit is seeking an injunction against the shirts as well as monetary damages.
Next up today, Reuters reports that a judge has rejected a move by singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the estate of Marvin Gaye that alleged Sheeran’s 2014 song Thinking Out Loud is an infringement of Gaye’s 1973 song Let’s Get it On.
The judge, saying that ordinary listeners may view the “aesthetic appeal” of the songs as being the same, denied the petition filed by Sheeran, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic records. Sheeran and his co-defendants had argued that the rhythm of Let’s Get it On was not protectable under copyright but the judge ruled that the songs were too close to ignore their similarities and that a video showing Sheeran switching between the two songs highlights that.
As a result of this denial, the case, barring a settlement, is moving toward a trial. The Gaye estate previously won a similar case against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song Blurred Lines, which they claimed was an infringement of the Gaye song Got To Give it Up.
Finally today, Tony Mauro at the National Law Journal reports that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Saumel Alito Jr. has “unrecused” himself from the case Rimini Street v Oracle USA after selling off his remaining Oracle stock.
The case, which looks at Rimini Street’s third party support of Oracle software, is set to be argued on January 14. Alito was not originally scheduled to be a part of the hearing due his holding of Oracle stock but was able to sell all of his stock in time to participate.
Alito’s return means that all 9 justices of the Supreme Court will be hearing and issuing a ruling in the case. That ruling, however, is not expected until much later this year.