Hollywood Docket: 'Avatar' copyright trouble?; Live Nation fake bidding war?; Bob Marley trademarks

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Hollywood Docket: 'Avatar' copyright trouble?; Live Nation fake bidding war?; Bob Marley trademarks

Tue Nov 03, 2009 @ 09:52AM PST

Entertainment law news this morning:

  • Did James Cameron take his idea for "Avatar" from a 1957 novella? A number of websites have started remarking about the film's plot similarities to Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe." (1, 2, 3, etc.) One lawyer examines if Cameron has some copyright trouble on his hands. Probably not, says attorney Maxwell Kennerly, although he mentions that like everyone else Cameron was once sued by sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison over "Terminator."
  • Key Brand Entertainment is suing Live Nation and Ambassador Theatre Group of orchestrating a phony bidding war and violating a bidding rights agreement in the sale of 17 theaters. Key Brand says that it should have won the bidding, but Live Nation tipped off Ambassador at the last moment on the amount they needed to bid to win the theaters without triggering matching rights. 
  • The Interactive Advertising Bureau has come out strongly against a new bill that would expand the Federal Trade Commission's ability to bring civil lawsuits and create new rules. Mike Zaneis, the vice president of public policy at the IAB calls the legislation a "fast track vehicle for expansion of the FTC."
  • The heirs of Jamaican reggae superstar Bob Marley have hired a Canadian company to aggressively protect trademark rights to the Marley brand. Forbes magazine says the Marley name generates $600 million a year in unlicensed sales and just $4 million in legal sales.
  • Kate Winslet has settled a libel claim against the Daily Mail for reporting she lied about her exercise regime. The newspaper agreed to pay the actress 25,000 pounds.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled the confirmation hearings for Victoria Espinel's nomination as the first U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator for tomorrow at 2 pm. 
  • Business Insider lists 10 iPhone Apps every lawyer should have. Apps include the ability to keep track of CLE hours, a way to log billable hours, the Federal Rules of Procedure, Black's Law Dictionary, and oddly, Tetris. We suppose that lawyers get some enjoyment out of figuring out where to fit quickly-descending puzzle pieces.

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