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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that tattoo artist Catherine Alexander is suing the WWE over the use of her tattoos in a recent WWE video game. However, unlike some similar cases, this one is heading to a possible trial and may well be the first copyright trial to focus on the reproduction of tattoos.
Alexander sued WWE and videogame publisher Take-Two Interactive Software over the use of tattoos she designed for wrestler Randy Orton in various WWE games. An Illinois judge has now handed her a major victory, granting her partial summary judgment by ruling that WWE and Take-Two copied her work. However, the judge said that the issue of whether that copying rises to the level of infringement was a matter for a trial.
Take-Two beat a remarkably similar lawsuit involving tattoos on various NBA stars. However, that case took place in a different circuit and one of the defenses Take-Two used there, the de minimis defense (meaning that the infringement was too small for the court to even consider) is not a part of the Seventh Circuit. The judge also felt differently about many of the other arguments and ruled that the case needed to be decided at trial.
Next up today, Steve Appleford at the Los Angeles Times reports that the long-running legal battle between fashion designer Marc Jacobs and the remaining members of Nirvana has a new wrinkle in it as a graphic designer has come forward to claim that he created the logo at issue.
At issue is the Nirvana “Smiley Face” logo that became associated with the band in the 1990s. According to the copyright registration, it was created by Kurt Cobain sometime around 1991 and registered in 1993. This became the subject of a lawsuit after fashion designer Marc Jacobs began using a similar-looking face in some of his designs.
However, now graphic designer Robert Fisher is saying that he created the logo at issue. Fisher was the art director at Geffen Records and has designed most of Nirvana’s album covers. He has filed a motion to intervene in the case in order to claim authorship and ownership of the logo. Further, he says that the logo was not designed as part of his duties at Geffen Records, meaning that he is the actual copyright holder. He says that he has no plans on seeking back payments for the logo’s use, but wants to be properly credited for his work.
Finally today, Andy Maxwell at Torrentfreak writes that a Danish man has been sentenced to 20 days probation as well as orders to pay restitution for his role in operating sites that provided information on how to use the Popcorn Time piracy app.
In 2015 two people were arrested in Denmark for operating a pair of sites that did not link to infringing material, but instead provided information on how to obtain and use Popcorn Time. One of the men was held liable back in January and was handed a six-month conditional sentence that also required 120 hours of community service and a confiscation order for approximately $67,000 in revenue.
Now, the other man has entered his guilty plea and has been handed his sentence, which included just 20 days of probation and a confiscation order for advertising revenue. According to Rights Alliance, the difference in the sentences is based on the types of information the sites provided and the revenue they earned.