Audio

Savage v. CAIR: The Council on American-Islamic Relations Asks Court to Dismiss Michael Savage's Lawsuit

I've blogged before about the Savage v. CAIR lawsuit, in which the conservative talk show host claims that CAIR violated his copyright (and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act!) by posting and commenting critically on an audio clip from one of his shows, in which Savage makes all sorts of hateful and inaccurate claims about Muslims and the Islamic faith.

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Prince v. Prince Fan Sites

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

11/06/2007

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Princefans.com, Prince.org, and Housequake.com

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Lawyers for the musician formerly known, and now currently known, as Prince have sent cease-and-desist letters and at least one DMCA takedown notice to the three largest Prince fansites, Prince.org, Princefams.com, and Housequake.com, demanding that they remove all photographs, images, lyrics, album covers, and anything linked to Prince's likeness.

The fan sites were also requested to provide Prince's lawyers with "substantive details of the means by which you propose to compensate our clients [Paisley Park Enterprises, NPG Records and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)] for damages."

The fansites formed a coalition, Prince Fans United (PFU), which has issued a press release saying that the letter campaign goes too far, effectively stifling critical commentary and impinging on freedom of speech. It does not appear that a lawsuit been initiated.

Update:

3/13/2008 - Prince Fans United reported that negotiations between the coalition and Prince were at a standstill for unknown reasons.

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CMLP Notes: 

Status updated on 6/6/2008 (AAB)

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Citizen Media Law Podcast #6: Copyright and Fair Use in Savage v. Council on American-Islamic Relations

This week, Colin Rhinesmith speaks with Sam Bayard about copyright and fair use issues involved in a recent lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Download the MP3 (time: 9:40)

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Savage v. Council on American-Islamic Relations: A Breathtaking Misunderstanding of Copyright Law

Conservative talk show host Michael Savage sued the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in federal district court in California on Monday for copyright infringement. Savage posted a copy of the complaint on his website. He claims that CAIR violated his copyrights in the October 29, 2007 program of the "Michael Savage Show" by excerpting a four-plus minute portion of the show and posting it on CAIR's website.

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Massachusetts State Police v. Jean

Date: 

02/14/2006

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Mary T. Jean

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Central Division; United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Case Number: 

4:06CV40031 (District); No. 06-1775 (Appeals)

Legal Counsel: 

John Reinstein, Daniel Shea

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Description: 

Mary Jean is the operator of Conte2006.com, which describes itself as being "designed for the sole purpose of stopping the re-election of [Worchester, MA] District Attorney John J. Conte." Jean posted a video to the site that showed state police engaging in a warrantless and possibly unconstitutional search of Paul Pechonis' home. The police depicted in the video allegedly were from a unit that reported to Conte and acted under his supervision. The video was recorded by Pechonis' child-security system (or "nanny cam"), and Pechonis himself gave the video to Jean.

On Feb. 14, 2006, the Massuchetts state police sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding that Jean remove the video within 24 hours or face criminal action. The letter cited a Massachusetts law regarding unauthorized recording and wiretapping as the basis for the takedown request (the police later clarified by stating that only the audio portion of the recording was at issue). Rather than removing the video, Jean filed a lawsuit in federal court requesting an injunction to prevent the Massachusetts police from pursuing legal action. The complaint named the state police, Massachusetts State Police superintendent Thomas G. Robbins, and Massachusetts attorney general Thomas Reilly as defendants.

Jean's complaint sought both an immediate temporary restraining order and a permant injunction that would prevent the police from taking action against her related to the video. The court granted the restraining order on the day the complaint was filed.

The district court ultimately granted the injunction as well. The court assumed for the sake of argument that Jean had reason to know that the recording might have been illegal when she posted it. Finding a public interest in Jean's publication of the information contained in the video, the court decided that the police's duty to restrain illegal recording could not counterbalance Jean's free speech rights. Key to this decision was the fact that Jean did not engage in recording herself, and thus punishing her would not serve the same deterrence goals as would punishing the recorder.

On appeal, the First Circuit upheld the injunction, echoing the lower court's comments regarding the balancing of free speech versus the police's law-enforcing goals.

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CMLP Notes: 

The Conte2006.com site is a good place to check for updates, in case the suit is appealed further. {MCS}

 

sam reviewing

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Universal Music v. Lenz

Date: 

06/04/2007

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Stephanie Lenz

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Case Number: 

C 07-03783-MEJ

Legal Counsel: 

Kelly Max Klaus, Amy C. Tovar

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

In July 2007, Stephanie Lenz sued Universal Music in federal district court in California for claims arising out Universal's sending a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube regarding a video posted by Lenz.

According to Lenz's complaint, she posted a video of her toddler son to YouTube in February 2007. In the 29-second video, Lenz's son dances to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," which is playing in the background. In June 2007, counsel for Universal Music sent YouTube a DMCA takedown notice pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), claiming that the video infringed its copyright in the Prince song and requested that YouTube remove it from the website. YouTube complied and notified Lenz about the takedown. Lenz sent a counter-notification pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(g), and the site put the video back up about six weeks later.

Lenz claims that her video does not infringe Universal's copyright because it is fair use. Her federal complaint against Universal alleges that the company violated 17 U.S.C. § 512(f) by knowingly materially misrepresenting its copyright claim in the DMCA takedown notice and requests damages and attorneys fees. The complaint also requests a declaratory judgment that her video did not constitute copyright infringement and injunctive relief to prevent Universal from bringing further copyright claims in connection with the video.

On April 8, 2008, the federal district court granted Universal Music's motion to dismiss the complaint, but granted Lenz permission to amend. She filed her second amended complaint on April 18. 

Update: 

05/23/2008- Universal moved to dismiss Lenz's second amended complaint.

08/20/2008 - The district court denied Universal's motion to dismiss the second amended complaint, holding that copyright owners must consider fair use before sending a DMCA takedown notice.

02/25/2010- The district court granted Lenz's motion for partial summary judgment on various defenses asserted by Universal, but did not resolve the merits. 

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CMLP Notes: 

Updated 08/17/2008. {MCS}

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Zomba Recording, LLC v. Lavandeira

Date: 

10/11/2007

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Mario Lavandeira (aka Perez Hilton); John Does 1-10

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Central District of California

Case Number: 

2:07cv06591

Legal Counsel: 

Bryan Freedman, Gregory L Doll, Matthew Eric Voss, Michael M Amir

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

Zomba Recording, LLC filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement and conversion against popular Hollywood blogger Mario Lavandeira (aka Perez Hilton) for allegedly uploading unreleased Britney Spears tracks onto his celebrity gossip blog, www.perezhilton.com.

Zomba, a Sony BMG subsidiary which owns the copyright in Spears' music, says that Lavadeira illegally obtained and posted ten completed and demo tracks for Spears' upcoming album "Blackout."

After Zomba complained to Lavandeira's ISP, some of the offending content was removed from his website, but Zomba maintains that some of its copyrighted material is still posted on Lavandeira's website.

Zomba claims that, as a result of the online leak of the Spears tracks, related Zomba Label Group company Jive Records has been forced to release Blackout on October 30, 2007, two weeks earlier than planned. Zomba is seeking unspecified damages, costs and an order restraining Lavandeira from continuing his alleged infringement of Zomba's copyright. Zomba also seeks punitive damages on their conversion claim.

Update:

06/30/2009 - The parties submitted a stipulation to dismiss the case, pursuant to an undisclosed settlement agreement.

07/08/2009 - The District Court judge dismissed the case, with prejudice.

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CMLP Notes: 

Updated 6-5-08 (JMC)

Updated 06/15/2009 (LB)

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Cosby v. Baio

Date: 

03/02/2006

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Bill Cosby

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Andrew Baio

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Description: 

Andrew Baio, a blogger, posted a Bill Cosby comedy album in full as a tribute to Cosby. He also mirrored a video series, "House of Cosbys," which had appeared on online TV site Channel101, but was taken offline after Cosby's lawyers threatened Channel101 with litigation. (For more information, please see the CMLP Database entry for the Cosby v. Channel101 Letter.) The video series tells the story of a Cosby fan who clones multiple Cosbys, each of whom has a special power.

In March 2006, an attorney for Cosby sent a cease-and-desist letter to Baio, indicating that the album was copyrighted and that the video series infringed Cosby's right of publicity in his voice, name, and likeness.

In a blog post about the cease-and-desist letter, Baio agreed that asking for removal of the comedy album was "within [Cosby's] rights," and he did so. He refused to remove the video series, however, asserting that it was "satire and parody" protected by the First Amendment. He also argued that there was no misappropriation of Cosby's name or likeness because that tort "only applies to unauthorized commercial use, and not a work of art or entertainment." Baio continues to host "House of Cosbys" and to link to several other locations on the Internet where it is available.

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CMLP Notes: 

Status checked on 6/3/2008, no new information (AAB)

status checked on 6/17/09; no new information - CMF

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