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Week In Review

By Jessie Schuster

Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Entertainment

The Mechanical Licensing Collective Sues Pandora for Allegedly Underpaying Royalties and Late Fees

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), responsible for collecting and distributing mechanical royalties, filed suit against Pandora for failing to pay publishers and songwriters that/who are featured on the Pandora Free service. The lawsuit comes after the MLC contacted Pandora directly to try and resolve the issue; however, Pandora never paid.


Choreographer Ends Copyright Case Against ‘Fortnite’ Maker Epic Games Over Dance Moves

Epic Games and celebrity choreographer Kyle Hanagami have reached an agreement, ending the first-of-its-kind dance copyright case the choreographer brought against the Fortnite game owner.


Russell Simmons Sued for Alleged Rape & Sexual Assault by Former Def Jam Video Producer

Russell Simmons is being accused by a former Def Jam video producer of rape and sexual assault under the Adult Survivors Act. The lawsuit includes claims of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress during the 1990s.


Rapper Roddy Ricch Did Not Infringe Song’s Copyright, Judge Says

Peabody & Company LLC lost the suit it brought against rapper Roddy Ricch over copyright infringement in the rapper’s song “The Box”, which the company claimed copied “Come on Down” by Greg Perry, as the judge ruled there was no copyright infringement.


Travis Scott Sued for Alleged Copyright Infringement Over “Stargazing” and “Til Further Notice”

Travis Scott’s songs “Stargazing” and “Til Further Notice” are at the heart of a copyright infringement suit brought by songwriter Dion Norman and producer Derrick Ordogne against the rapper, Sony Music Entertainment, Metro Boomin, and James Blake for using unauthorized samples of their 1991 song “Bitches”.


Murder Trial Lays Bare a Hip-Hop Pioneer’s Double Life

In the trial of two men who are charged with the murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay has

revealed that that artist turned to drug dealing when he was struggling financially, even while

being in the public eye.


Ozzy Osbourne Threatens Legal Action After Ye Reportedly Sampled Black Sabbath in New Song

Following Kanye West (Ye’s) listing party for his new album, Rock Icon Ozzy Osbourne took to social media to share that the rapper had asked to sample Osbourne’s live performance of “Iron Man”, to which the rocker did not give permission. Ye used the sample, regardless.


Kanye West’s ‘Vultures 1’ Back on Apple Music Following Distributor Dispute

After being taken off of Apple Music, Ye’s new album was put back on the streaming platform by a “long-standing client” of Apple Music, in spite of distributor FUGA declining to work with the rapper.


Tennessee Hearing Debates State’s “Elvis Act” AI Legislation

The “Elvis Act,” brought into TN legislation last month to expand a law that protects artists for AI deepfakes, was debated for the last time before lawmakers will officially have the final version of the bill that will balance protecting musicians and celebrities without being overbroad.


Sony Music Acquires Major Stake in Michael Jackson Catalog Valued at $1.2B Plus

A year after talks began regarding a deal being made to acquire Michael Jackson’s catalog, Sony Music officially acquired half of the late singer’s masters for at least $600M, with the entire catalog values about $1.2B. What is unusual is that the estate retains certain controls over how the catalog can be used.


Arts

Sarah Silverman, Authors See Most Claims Against OpenAI Dismissed by Judge

The lawsuit brought by actress and author Sarah Silverman with other authors against OpenAI for infringing on their copyrighted books by using them to train the AI chatbot has been dismissed by a federal judge after a similar suit was dismissed involving a claim against Meta.


Squishmallows Toy Maker and Build-A-Bear Are in a Plush War Over Copycat Accusations

Build-A-Bear is being sued by the parent company of Squishmallows, who claims that the new Skoosherz copy the look and feel of the Squishmallows toy.


SpaceX Rocket Carrying Jeff Koon’s 125 Moon Sculptures Finally Takes Off

One hundred and twenty-five of Jeff Koon’s sculptures were sent to the moon on board a SpaceX rocket as part of an initiative called the “The Moon Phases Project”, which includes 125 miniature moon sculptures recognizing moon phases associated with icons who have “made a significant impact to human life on Earth.”


Anti-Israel Protesters Force Closure of Museum of Modern Art 

The MoMA was forced to close early after hundreds of anti-Israel protestors inside of the museum demanded a “free Palestine and an art world without Zionism.”


Sports 

AI at Super Bowl Raises Contract and Copyright Issues for Pro Sports

This year’s Super Bowl brought a range of new legal concerns to the table regarding AI, including copyright and contract issues.


Maine Citizens Placed First In-State Legal Super Bowl Bets

Maine saw an influx of sports bets last weekend as the state had its first ever Super Bowl weekend when legal sports betting was allowed. Maine citizens also had their first opportunity to watch the biggest game of the year while having a little more stake in the game.


At Least 1 Killed in Shooting at Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Celebration

A city-wide celebration quickly turned into a harsh reality as gunmen opened fire at the Kansas City Super Bowl Parade, killing one and leaving at least 21 others injured. The victims of the shooting include the woman who was killed, radio host and mother Lisa Lopez-Galvan, in addition to 12 children who are being treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Police believe the incident was purely criminal in nature and was not a terrorist attack.


South African Olympic Champion Semenya Asks For Funds For Legal Fight

Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic Champion, is asking for funds to support her legal fight against Swiss authorities at the European Court of Human Rights, where she will continue to fight for female athletes with high testosterone who are being required to take medication.


Media & Technology

“YouTube Isn’t Here,” Says Yout Lawyer in Latest From Legal Battle With RIAA

In a dispute between the Recording Industry Association of America and stream-ripping site Yout, YouTube is being brought into question, even though it is not directly involved in the suit. The question regarding the site is whether YouTube has technical measures stopping the permanent downloads of content, which needs to be answered before it can be determined if Yout is doing exactly that illegally.


TMZ Ordered To Pay $300K in Atty Fees Over Bus Tour Case

TMZ has been ordered to reimburse $300K in attorney fees to a bus tour operator in a reversal of an original ruling favoring TMZ in an arbitration case.


General News

Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Israel-Ukraine Aid, With Future Uncertain in the House

In a 70-29 bipartisan vote, a defense aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan that includes humanitarian assistance for Palestinians was approved.


Trump Asks Supreme Court to Pause Ruling Denying Him Absolute Immunity

In efforts to receive total immunity from his criminal charges, Trump asked the Supreme Court to stop the appeals court from rejecting his claims that he is immune due to his presidency.


Amazon Becomes Latest Company to Argue That U.S. Labor Board is Unconstitutional

After SpaceX and Trader Joe’s claimed that the NLRB violates the Constitution, Amazon joins the companies in their claims in a filing to dismiss the NLRB’s claim that accused the company of “illegally retaliating against unionizing workers.”


Journal Publisher Retracts Abortion Pill Studies Cited by Texas Judge

The publisher of a scientific journal that published three studies showing purported harms of birth control pills retracted those studies after they were cited by a federal judge in Texas in a decision, as the studies have been found to be wrong.


Trump Advisers Rush to Spin ‘Off the Cuff’ NATO Remarks

Trump Advisors are working to ensure that people take Trump “seriously but not literally” after the former president made a statement encouraging Russia to “do whatever they hell they want against NATO allies.”


Next On Cuomo’s Rehabilitation Tour: Blowing Up a State Ethics Panel

Former Gov. Cuomo’s lawyers argued in court that the New York Ethics Commission is unconstitutional for the second time, after winning that argument in State Supreme Court last year, and now again on appeal as Cuomo’s attorneys point out that the committee unconstitutionally disallowed the governor from overseeing the panel.


Trump Lashes Out About Legal Woes In Michigan Speech – Blasts ‘Crooked Judge,’ Swipes Again At Carroll

After being ordered to pay $350M in a civil fraud case, Trump gave a speech in Michigan where he repeatedly called the ruling a “total sham” and referred to the judge as “crooked.”


RFK Jr. Apologizes After Super PAC’s Super Bowl Commercial

In a message posted on X, RFK Jr. apologized to his family for the Super Bowl Commercial that portrayed messages from JFK’s presidential campaign. The ad, however, has remained pinned on RFK Jr.’s X profile.


‘Over 400 Detained in Russia’ as Country Mourns Death of Putin Critic Alexei Navalny

While paying tribute to Alexei Navalny, one of Putin’s most well-known critics who died suddenly and suspiciously at age 47, over 400 mourners were detained in St. Petersburg and ordered to serve between 1-15 days in jail, while others were fined.

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