3 Count: Comedians Winning Lawsuits

A joke of a lawsuit?

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1: Jerry Seinfeld Beats ‘Comedians in Cars’ Copyright Suit

First off today, Gene Maddaus at Variety reports that Jerry Seinfeld has emerged victorious in a lawsuit over the series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

The lawsuit was filed by Christian Charles, who directed the 2002 documentary Comedian, which starred Seinfeld. He claims that he pitched the idea for the series to Seinfeld while working on the film and the two actually worked together on the project starting in 2011.

However, that relationship fell apart in 2012 and, in 2017, filed the lawsuit against Seinfeld. However, the court ruled that the five year wait was simply too long and that the claim is disallowed due to the statute of limitations on copyright infringement claims, which is three years. In addition to the statute of limitation issues, Seinfeld also claimed that Charles released his claims to the work when he was paid for his participation.

2: Toy Maker Zuru Sued by US Toy Company MGA Entertainment for Alleged Copyright Infringement

Next up today, John Anthony at Stuff reports that the New Zealand Toy company Zuru has been sued by U.S. competitor MGA Entertainment over alleged violations of trademark, copyright and patent law.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S., alleges that some five toys sold by Zuru as part of it is 5 Surprise line violate various intellectual property rights of their LOL Surprise! toys. As a result, they are seeking an injunction that bars the sale of those toys.

According to Zuru, MGA’s claims are overly broad and not grounded in reality. The lawsuit followed a cease and desist letter sent to Zuru by MGA that made the same claims. Zuru did not meet the letter’s demands and, as a result, the lawsuit was filed.

3: Justice Department Once Again Advises SCOTUS to Skip Java Copyright Case

Finally today, Alison Frankel at Reuters reports that, for the second time, the Justice Department has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to not take up the Google v. Oracle case.

The case deals with Google’s implementation of Java in its mobile Android operating system. Java is owned by Oracle and Google created its own version, rewritten mostly from the ground up, that only used the Oracle Java APIs to ensure compatibility. Oracle sued, claiming copyright infringement, but Google argued that the APIs were not copyrightable, being more akin to a phone book, and that, even if they were, it was a fair use.

However, the courts ruled against Google on the copyrightability issue, with the Supreme Court declining to hear the issue. Google has lost again on the fair use question and, once again, is asking the Supreme Court to hear the case. Also once again, the Justice Department is asking the court to not take the case, saying that this is not a good venue for addressing fair use issues and that the Appeals Court position is “unremakrable.”

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