Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Congress passes the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005

Congress has amended the Federal Communications Act, in response to the super bowl “wardrobe malfunction” of Janet Jackson that caused such controversy.
Congress amplified the penalties for “indecent” broadcasts to $325,000 per violation up to a ceiling of $3 million “for any single act.” Penalties are assessed by the FCC. Previously, the most the FCC was empowered to assess for indecent broadcasts was $32,500 per violation.

Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, P.L. 109-235 (2006), available at

Video-gamer Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard Records do not infringe one another’s trademarks.

Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard Records can both employ the “Blizzard” trademark; even though they are not related companies and both market recorded music.

The case concerned which company first used the “Blizzard” mark for the sale of music. Blizzard Records began using the mark in 1986 – predating Blizzard Entertainment use. The court found that the record company had abandoned the mark in 1987 and didn’t begin using it again until 1999.

The Blizzard Entertainment computer game company registered the “Blizzard” mark in 1994, but only for computer and video games. However, in 1995, the computer company began selling recordings of the music from its game soundtracks, using the “Blizzard” mark.

Since Blizzard Entertainment used the mark for music before Blizzard Records did, Blizzard Entertainment’s use of the mark did not violate any trademark rights of Blizzard Records.

And Blizzard Records’ use of the mark to sell music did not infringe Blizzard Entertainment’s trademark rights because Blizzard Entertainment introduced evidence that its customers were not likely to be confused about the source of recordings bearing the mark.

Mele v. Davidson & Associates, Inc., 2006 WL 1644693, 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 39054 (W.D.N.Y. 2006)

The Path To 9/11 Premieres On ABC September 10 & 11.

Congratulations to our client David Cunningham who directed the multi part film –on the events leading up to 9/11. It is told from the CIA, FBI, White House and terrorists perspective and based upon the 9/11 Commission Report.
It stars Harvey Keitel, Patricia Heaton, Donnie Whalberg and a top notch cast of 250 actors from 14 countries. It was filmed in Toronto, Morocco, New York, Washington D.C., and one of only a few films ever to be allowed to film at the CIA headquarters at Langley.

Time Magazine says: " Fast paced and shot with handheld cameras, 'Path' plays like a somber, dysfunctional '24,' with all the grit. Executive producer Marc Platt hired director David L. Cunningham a documentary veteran, to give the movie a verite look, without emotional tricks like zooming in on fraught moments. …The last few minutes—inside the planes, the towers and the conference rooms on 9/11—are tastefully handled, though no less chilling. But they're beside the point. What matters is what happened before and what happened—and didn't afterward. An epilogue notes the commission's report card, issued last December, which found that most of its recommendations—securing weapons of mass destruction, delegating antiterrorism funds by risk—have been carried out badly or not at all. That endnote is the scariest thing in the miniseries."