Chambers USA 2023
We represented Paul McCartney in a landmark copyright lawsuit against music publisher Sony/ATV regarding the rights to hundreds of Beatles songs. The case was resolved in a settlement and avoided a legal battle that would have had wide ramifications for the music industry.
We represented Oracle in an action for copyright and patent infringement based on Google’s inclusion of Java platform technology in the Android software platform and operating system. The jury returned a mixed verdict, finding for Oracle on certain aspects of its copyright claims and for Google on the issue of patent infringement. The trial court then vacated the jury verdict on a copyright claim on legal grounds. The Federal Circuit recently reversed a ruling that Oracle’s Java software can’t be copyrighted and reinstated a verdict that Google Inc.’s Android operating system infringes.
We represented LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc., in a putative class action involving copyright infringement claims by attorneys who authored legal briefs filed in court that were available on the lexis.com online database. On a motion to dismiss, we successfully defeated claims of the proposed subclass of authors who had not registered their briefs with the Copyright Office; the plaintiff subsequently dropped the class allegations. Later, we succeeded on a motion for summary judgment on the remaining individual claims by proving that LexisNexis’ use of the works at issue constituted fair use.
The Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of our client, Autodesk, against a reseller of its software. The reseller asserted that his resales of Autodesk software were protected by the first-sale doctrine and did not infringe Autodesk’s copyright. The Ninth Circuit held that the plaintiff was not entitled to assert the first sale defense against Autodesk because he acquired the used software subject to Autodesk’s license agreement and did not have ownership rights. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Vernor’s cert petition, preserving the Ninth Circuit court’s ruling.
The Regional Court of Berlin ruled in favor of our client, the well-known artist (painter) Martin Eder, and in favor of the freedom of the art as guaranteed by the German Constitution in an alleged copyright infringement matter. The court found that the use of the cherry tree image in the oil painting created by our client was a permitted free use covered by the freedom of the art that is guaranteed by the German Constitution. The Court also shared our view that there was no urgency to initiate a preliminary injunction, as the plaintiff himself made copies of the work in question available on the Internet on his social media pages and by way of an Instagram video.