AlleyInsider: MediaSet, Silvio Berlusconi, Sue YouTube For $800 Million:
MediaSet, the dominant TV provider in Italy controlled by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, sued Google (GOOG) and YouTube in a Rome court, seeking “at least” $779 million in damages.
The Milan-based company found 4,643 videos from MediaSet companies on YouTube on June 10, representing 325 hours of broadcasting, the company said
The NY Times reports today that (1) the authorized version of SCRABBLE on Facebook was the victim of ‘a malicious attack’ by hackers and (2) Hasbro acknowledged that it had waited until the authorized version was up before moving to enjoin Scrabulous. Meanwhile, Hasbro has been subject to criticism and boycott threats.
The Scrabulous situation is a recurring one for IP owners. There is always a new platform (Facebook, the iPhone, the Web itself) presenting itself as an opportunity for a new version of a popular property (I had to tear myself away from Tap Tap Revenge to post this).
Solo developers will always have a speed advantage in getting to those new platforms first (and, if those developers have expertise native to those platforms, they may have other advantages as well, It is reported, for example,. that Scrabulous is superior to the authorized FB version of Scrabble, as it loads much quicker).
If the Agarwalla Brothers had approached Hasbro two years ago with a proposal for a FB version of Scrabble, what likely result?
If Hasbro were to pay the Agarwalla Brothers millions, what likely result?
If Hasbro had brought this action in January, 7 months prior to having its own version up and running, what likely result?
Counterfeit Chic: Senate Considers Enforcement of IP Rights Act of 2008:
Among the bill’s additions to existing law are the following:
Authorization of the Attorney General to bring civil, not just criminal actions — a potential benefit to intellectual property rights holders who now have to file such lawsuits on their own dime;
Enhanced penalties, including doubled statutory damages for counterfeiting (to $1,000 to $200,000 for use of a fake trademark and to $2m for doing so willfully);
New forfeiture provisions for property used to violate intellectual property rights — like that car used to transport counterfeit handbags or a computer used to download music;
More enforcement resources and personnel at the local, national, and international levels, including placement of IP law enforcement coordinators in hotspots overseas;
A federal Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, a.k.a. a Copyright Czar.
Facebook Takes Down SCRABULOUS (or, perhaps SCRABULOUS Asks Facebook To Take Down SCRABULOUS Thus Removing Uncomfortable Situation For Facebook)
Techcrunch: Scrabulous Gets Wiped Off Facebook:
Long outplayed by two Indian brothers, Hasbro finally delivers a massive counter blow to Scrabulous, one of the most loved games on Facebook. Scrabulous fans in North America will see the following message when they try to play the game:
Scrabulous is disabled for U.S. and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here.
Coverage from Alley Insider here.
UPDATE: NY Times reports that Scrabulous requested that Facebook disable Scrabulous for US and Canada
KansasCity.com: “Insurance company for Collective Brands dsiputes liability for verdict“:
American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co. late Thursday sued in U.S. District Court in Kansas pertaining to the verdict returned in May against Collective, which owns and operates Payless ShoeSource, a 4,600-store discount footwear chain.
Adidas America in 2001 sued Payless for copying its striped footwear design.
A jury awarded Adidas the $305 million, including $137 million in punitive damages, saying Payless willfully copied and sold variations of the Adidas athletic footwear.
Comment: Scrabble Says Scrabulous Would Pose Risk to Monopoly Which Would Be Trouble.
. . . or perhaps it was the trademark enforcement.
Wall Street Journal article on trademark owners policing use of character costumers by local party performers: “Why Dora the Explorer Can’t Come To Your Kid’s Birthday Party“:
. . . .Though the walk-about “Dora” had the expected pageboy haircut and backpack, her expression was blank and her legs appeared out of proportion to the rest of her body. “When Dora came out,” Mrs. Sorkin says, “none of the kids would go to Dora, including my daughter, and a few of the kids started crying.”
Elvira Grau, who owns Space Odyssey USA, where Mrs. Sorkin held her daughter’s party, says the costume companies that service her parties try to make their costumes look sufficiently different from the trademarked characters to avoid lawsuits. When Mrs. Sorkin complained to her that Dora was “hideous,” Mrs. Grau gave her a $250 credit. “But I told her, ‘You can’t have the real Dora. If you want the real Dora, call Nickelodeon.’ ”
Every sentence in this article is both funny and extremely sad.
There is a sentiment expressed by Justice Stevens in Moseley v V Secret, that where there is no confusion, a tarnishing use reflects on the tarnisher and not the trademark owner. It might be the case that where there is no confusion that the local children’s clown is ‘licensed’ by anyone, that if the clown stumbles around drunk or otherwise behaves inappropriately, in a character costume, that that reflects on the clown, and not on the costume.
Facebook has sued in California a German company, StudiVZ, for copyright infringement. lIllustration and background from Kasi-Blog here. TechCrunch coverage here. I’ll post the complaint when it’s in hand.
Update: The case is Facebook, Inc. v Studivz, Ltd., Verlagsgruppe George von Holtzbrinck, Holtzbrinck Networks, Holtzbrinck Ventures, filed July 17 2008, 28:1332. The case is designated for ECF so I assume the complaint will be available on Pacer (attn: Northern District of California practitioners – is that correct?)
UPDATE: News.com.au reports that StudiVZ has filed a complaint in Germany requesting a declaration of non-infringement.