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Tom J. Manos, P.A.
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Four College Athletes Claim Not Paying Players is in Violation of Antitrust Laws
Four college athletes have filed a class action suit with the representation of well known sports attorney, Jeffrey Kessler. The four players claim that the NCAA has unlawfully capped player compensation at the value of scholarship and that this is in violation of antitrust laws. The NCAA compensation cap only allows players to be compensated with tuition, books and room and board expenses. It does not allow colleges or universities to pay their athletes salaries or compensate them in any other way.

What are antitrust laws?
- See more at: http://tjmlawfirm.com/lawyer/2014/05/30/Entertainment-Law/Four-College-Athletes-Claim-Not-Paying-Players-is-in-Violation-of-Antitrust-Laws_bl13414.htm#sthash.WeewaShF.dpuf
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Led Zeppelin Sued by Spirit for Copyright Infringement
Rock anthem Stairway to Heaven is the subject of a copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin. Sixties rock band Spirit claims that Led Zeppelin stole the introduction to Stairway to Heaven from their 1968 instrumental track Taurus.

Taurus included a three measure finger-picked acoustic guitar segment. This segment features a similar chord progression with a ten second segment of the Stairway to Heaven introduction. The estate of lead guitarist to Spirit, Randy California, who died in 1997, brought a claim against Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement. The representatives of the estate are said to have waited to make the claim because they could not pay attorney’s fees. The representatives of the estate are seeking co-writing credit for Randy California as well as an injunction to prohibit the currently scheduled release of Led Zeppelin albums that have been re-mastered.

Elements of Copyright Infringement

Courts consider the facts in a copyright infringement case according to a two-pronged test. The first prong is copying of prior work. In order to determine whether copying of prior work existed, they will look at the defendant’s (in this case Led Zeppelin) access to prior work of Plaintiff (Spirit). The courts will also consider how similar the two works are two one another. The second prong in copyright infringement cases is whether the substantial similarity to prior work is sufficient to constitute improper appropriation. This essentially means that the works are similar in the ears of an ordinary member of the intended audience.

Does Spirit have a case against Led Zeppelin?

As far as the copying of prior work is concerned: Spirit claims that Led Zeppelin had access to their track while they were playing several shows together in 1968 and 1969. Taurus was normally part of the set at these shows. So they may be able to prove access.
With regard to similarity it will be up to expert witnesses to prove and the judge to decide. You can decide if it is similar to the ears of an ordinary member of the intended audience. Take a listen!
Have you been faced with a copyright infringement issue?  Contact Entertainment Law experts Manos & Associates, PL today.
- See more at: http://tjmlawfirm.com/lawyer/2014/05/27/Entertainment-Law/Led-Zeppelin-Sued-by-Spirit-for-Copyright-Infringement_bl13412.htm#sthash.R5Bun1HW.dpuf
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Another Recording Artist Fights Back Against Alleged Underpaid Royalties
Country Music Star Brad Paisley Seeks Payment from Sony Music
Record labels are supposed to help promote the music and increase the profits of the musicians they sign; unfortunately, as some recent high profile cases show, this isn’t always the case. Country music superstar Brad Paisley, who performed at President Obama’s inauguration and who was Country Music Award’s male vocalist of the year in 2008, is one of the many artists crying foul over unfair practices by one of the country’s largest labels – Sony Music.
Earlier in his career, Paisley signed a deal with the big label to distribute his recordings and to handle song licensing. In 2010, Paisley served Sony Music with a summons in New York State, claiming the company miscalculated royalty payments and underpaid him by $10 million. Last month, the stakes increased when Paisley’s attorney Richard Busch raised the issue of digital licensing royalties.
Busch has succeeded in questioning digital licensing royalty percentages in the past. Historically, digital licensing royalty percentages are calculated at 12 to 20 percent, but in a dispute between rap artist Eminem and his label, Busch succeeded in raising the digital sales percentage rate for Eminem to 50 percent. How? Busch argued that streaming songs are broadcasts, not sales. Broadcasts carry a much higher rate for the artist than do sales. If Busch succeeds in classifying Paisley’s streaming songs are broadcasts, not sales, like he did with Eminem, the money owed by Sony Music to Paisley could quadruple.
As this case suggests, artists with clear and defined agreements with recording labels are well positioned to fight for royalty payments and other rights when disputes arise. This case also illustrates that an experienced and knowledgeable record contract attorney can often determine additional instances of royalty shortfalls.
As a life-long musician himself, Miami entertainment law attorney Tom J. Manos of Manos & Associates, PL understands the unique challenges that artists face and for over 30 years, he has represented musicians at various stages of their careers. To discuss your royalty dispute questions with Attorney Manos, contact our firm by calling 305-341-3100. - See more at: http://tjmlawfirm.com/lawyer/2014/05/15/Entertainment-Law/Another-Recording-Artist-Fights-Back-Against-Alleged-Underpaid-Royalties_bl13240.htm#sthash.9nIqPpTF.dpuf
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A Copyright and Contract Case Gets Complicated
Finally, After Seven Years, A Ruling in the “Ghost Hunters” Dispute
Actors, models, artists, writers and others in the entertainment field are go-getters who use their ideas and talents to make a living and, in some cases, make it big. But, as a parapsychologist and publicist learned last month, it takes more than ability, drive and creativity to ensure your rights are protected when partnering with studios, production houses and other organizations.
In 1996, parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller conceived of an idea to create a TV show about investigators who explore allegedly haunted locations. That same year, they pitched their idea to NBCUniversal Studios (NBCU). When they left the studio, they claim to have believed that an understanding existed between them and the studio - if the studio produced a ghost hunter-type show at a later date, it would partner with them.
Ghost Hunters premiered in 2004, and approximately a year passed before Smoller and Montz became aware of the program. Another year passed before they filed a copyright lawsuit against NBCU. The case was complex from the start due to a number of factors:
Questions arose as to whether the case involved copyright law or contract/implied contract law. The case originally relied on the former before switching to the latter.
The case relied on the ownership of an idea, not an expression. (Remember the Case against The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown? The historians who first popularized ideas used in The Da Vinci Code sued and lost. The courts found that Brown was free to use their ideas in a fictional work.) General ideas are much more difficult to copyright than artistic expressions.
Questions regarding the statute of limitations (i.e. the time limit for filing a claim) arose: did the statute of limitations begin upon publication of the show or upon the plaintiffs’ discovery of the alleged copyright violation? Why did the plaintiffs wait so long before filing a claim? And did the defendant fraudulently conceal broadcasts of the show from the plaintiffs, and would such a move affect the statute of limitations?
For seven years, each side enjoyed minor legal successes before an appellate court ruled in favor of NBCUniversal in April of this year. The case contains numerous technical legal lessons, but the primary take-away is that protecting both ideas and copyrighted material is challenging.
An experienced entertainment and copyright attorney can protect your rights to material and content once a dispute arises, and help prevent legal disputes by implementing safeguards for your work or ideas. Tom J. Manos of Manos & Associates, PL in Miami, has more than 30 years of legal experience and can provide the legal representation you need. To schedule a consultation, please call 305-341-3100. - See more at: http://tjmlawfirm.com/lawyer/blog/Miami,-FL-Entertainment-Law-Blog.htm#sthash.rEajAhYk.dpuf
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Estate of James Dean Files Suit Over "@JamesDean" Twitter Account
In the past, the term "cybersquatting" may have only referred to the use of trademarks in internet domain names without permission, but may expand beyond web address names to include social media accounts.
The estate of long-deceased actor and icon James Dean has filed suit against the social networking site Twitter and one or more of its users, alleging infringement of trademark and likeness rights. A fan of the actor created the Twitter account "@JamesDean" back in 2009, with a goal of sharing their love of the Hollywood icon with the Twitter community. In question is whether using both the name and image of the long-deceased actor who starred in the movies "Rebel Without a Cause," "Giant" and "East of Eden" violates trademark and likeness rights as well as Twitter's "impersonation policy."
The site's "impersonation policy" states that "Twitter accounts portraying another person in a confusing or deceptive manner may be permanently suspended under the Twitter Impersonation Policy."  
The Federal Anti-Cybersquatting Piracy Act covers the unauthorized use of celebrity names when it comes to Web domains but not Twitter user names. In its complaint, James Dean, Inc. claims that it requested that Twitter remove the "@JamesDean" account numerous times before filing suit. The lawsuit, James Dean, Inc., et al v. Twitter, Inc., et al, alleges that Twitter allowed a user to create an account with the handle, or user's account name, "@JamesDean" during or prior to September 2012 without permission.
It alleges trademark infringement under §§ 32(1) and 43(A) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114(1), 1125(a); and false endorsement under § 43(A). In addition, the suit claims violations of the right of publicity under both Indiana and common law, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment. As per the lawsuit, James Dean Inc. wants Twitter to "give" the @JamesDean account back to the estate.
If you are a member of the Miami entertainment community and think you may have a trademark infringement case, contact the law office of Manos & Associates, P.L. online or call 305-341-3100 to contact an attorney and musician who knows the entertainment world. Your first consultation with an intake specialist can determine if we can help you, and it's free of charge. 
- See more at: http://tjmlawfirm.com/lawyer/blog/Miami,-FL-Entertainment-Law-Blog.htm#sthash.sMXV8N26.dpuf
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Rapper Faces $16 Million Loss in a Partnership Dispute with Florida Company
Celebrity product lines can be lucrative, but beware the fine print.
For many celebrities and entertainers, artistically creative years are followed by lucrative years during which licensing, endorsement and joint venture deals lead to high-value personal incomes. Business opportunities are often governed by contracts, which have the potential to result in costly litigation if not adhered to completely. A dispute between celebrity rapper 50 Cent and a Florida personal headset manufacturer and marketer illustrates the need for a clearly-outlined contract in any entertainment-related business agreement.
In 2010, 50 Cent (whose real name is Curtis Jackson), partnered with Sleek Audio of Bradenton. Specifically, Jackson lent $285,000 to the company so that they could develop 50 Cent-branded headphones. Sleek created the headphones per its agreement with Jackson, but Jackson became frustrated with the speed at which Sleek brought the new products to market. In 2011, Jackson brought Sleek’s headphone designs to the Delray Beach manufacturer SMS Audio, who then proceeded to produce several headset lines for Jackson.
In its complaint, Sleek claimed that Jackson did not follow through on his obligation to launch a product line with them, and then launched a line featuring designs Sleek-owned designs. Faced with courtroom litigation, Jackson eventually agreed to have the dispute arbitrated.
During the arbitration proceedings, Jackson expressed frustration with the company’s alleged poor management, he claimed that Sleek fraudulently induced him to invest in the company. The arbitrator responded with sympathy to Jackson’s frustration, but also indicated that it did not justify Jackson taking Sleek’s intellectual property to another firm. The final ruling was a serious blow to Jackson: $4.5 million in attorneys fees and $11.7 million in damages.
As this case demonstrates, frustration, impulse and even good business sense are no substitute for carefully following both the law and the specific terms of a business contract. If you need legal assistance regarding entertainment and contract law in Florida, contact Attorney Tom J. Manos in Miami. We can assist you both in the creation of business agreements and with litigation in the event of a dispute. Call us at 305-341-3100. - See more at: http://tjmlawfirm.com/lawyer/blog/Miami,-FL-Entertainment-Law-Blog.htm#sthash.2qqXW9oT.dpuf
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