April 11, 2003
In This Newsletter:
SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADEMARK LAW AND COPYRIGHT LAW
An upcoming Supreme Court decision may help clarify the relationship between trademark law and copyright law in situations where a copyright has expired.
A video distributor sold videos of a public domain TV series originally produced by Twentieth Century Fox. The distributor, Dastar, copied a substantial portion of the series and resold it under a new title, without giving Fox credit for creating the series.
Fox claimed that this repackaging misled buyers into thinking that Dastar created the work itself and sued Dastar for reverse passing off, that is, representing that someone else's goods and services are one's own.
Even though Dastar did not show that consumers were confused, a Federal District judge ruled that Dastar had indeed infringed on Fox's copyright through "bodily appropriation" of the video series, and ordered Dastar to pay twice the profits from the sale due to deliberate and willful infringement.
Dastar lost on appeal; however, the Supreme Court determined that the case is worth of closer scrutiny. A decision is expected in July.
Twentieth Century Fox v. Entertainment Distributing, 34 Fed.Appx. 312, 202 U.S.App.LEXIS 7426 (9th Cir. 2002), cert. granted sub. nom., Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox, 123 S.Ct. 816, 2003 U.S.LEXIS 554 (2003)
"DUNSMORE" PREMIERES AT BIFF AND METHOD FEST
Congratulations to our clients, Peter Spirer and Michael Andrews. Their film, "Dunsmore," has been selected for screening on April 12 and 15 at the Bermuda International Film Festival and at Method Fest on April 15 and 17 in Burbank, California.
For Bermuda International Film Festival tickets and information, visit the website at:http://www.bermudafilmfest.com/
For Method Fest tickets and information, visit the website at:http://www.methodfest.com/methodfest_2001/index.htm
"LEVITY" OPENS IN L.A. AND NEW YORK
LEVITY, produced by our client Echo Lake Productions, opens in Los Angeles and New York City. The film opened the Sundance Film Festival this January. Levity is directed by Ed Solomon. It stars Billy Bob Thornton, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter, and Kirsten Dunst in a story about a murderer seeking closure and redemption for his crime.
In Los Angeles, the film is playing at Laemmle's Monica 4Plex, Laemmle's Sunset 5, Pacific Galleria Stadium 16 in Sherman Oaks, and United Artists Pasadena Marketplace.
In New York, the film is playing at AMC Theatres Empire 25 in Midtown, Loews Cineplex Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side, and UA Union Square 14 in the Flatiron district.To learn more about the film, visit Sony's website:http://www.sonyclassics.com/levity/index-withflash.html