3 Count: Comedians in Courtrooms

It's funny because it's sad...

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1: Jerry Seinfeld Wins ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ Copyright Dispute

First off today, Clémence Michallon at The Independent reports that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling in favor of Jerry Seinfeld and dismisses the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against him over the TV show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

The lawsuit was filed by comedian Christian Charles, who directed a 2002 documentary starring Seinfeld. According to the lawsuit, Charles pitched the idea for Comedians in Cars then and that the two of them worked on it together starting in 2011. However, that relationship quickly fell apart and the two went their separate ways in 2012, with Charles filing the lawsuit in early 2018.

Unfortunately for Charles, it was the timing of that filing that turned out to be the problem. According to both the district court and the appeals court, Charles’ claims are time-barred, meaning he waited too late to file. This is because there were at least two occasions in which Charles should have been aware that his work was allegedly being infringed and yet did not file a lawsuit until well after the three-year statute of limitations passed. The show itself recently aired its 11th season though it’s widely speculated that the show is now over.

2: Nintendo Lawyers File Copyright Complaints Against Super Mario 64 PC Port

Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that Nintendo has begun filing copyright claims with Google and YouTube to remove a fan-made PC port of the 1996 Nintendo 64 game Super Mario 64.

The project had been worked on for some time in secret and was soft released sometime this past weekend. It worked by fans reverse engineering the original Super Mario 64 code and porting it over to PC format, which includes full DirectX 12 support that enables play on higher resolutions and modern peripherals.

To that end, Nintendo has been waging a legal war to get the fan-made project removed from the internet with posts disappearing from Reddit, various file-hosting websites, including Google Drive, and even playthroughs on YouTube. This comes on the heels of a data leak suffered by Nintendo that included much of the original Nintendo 64’s original code.

3: Court Orders ‘Copyright Troll’ Into Firm Management Course

Finally today, Porter Wells at Bloomberg Law reports that controversial copyright attorney Richard Liebowitz has been hit with sanctions from two separate federal judges within the past week.

Liebowitz, best known for filing countless lawsuits on behalf of photographers who have their work misused by media companies and celebrities, was hit with a contempt judgment for lying to a judge in a Manhattan court. There, his attorney suggested psychological help and a course on small law firm management. However, the judge in that case only ordered the management training, saying that the psychological help only works when the patient wants help.

That followed a $20,000 sanction in the Southern District of Illinois for filing the case in the wrong jurisdiction and ignoring local rules. This had the impact of torpedoing what the court said was an otherwise “meritorious claim”. The money in that judgment goes to pay for civil sanction and to cover attorneys’ fees for the defendant.

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