Friday, November 4, 2011

Odds and Ends: Oklahoma City Thunder; Blown Insurance Coverage; Marybeth Peters

Some odds and ends for Friday:

No Copyright Infringement By The Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball Team For "Go Thunder." The NBA team and its owner were sued for copyright infringement by the composer of a copyright registered song containing the words "Thunder Up," "Go Thunder," and "Let's Go Thunder," among other phrases. The composer argued that the Thunder cheer group, the team mascot, and members of the crowd often violated his registered copyright by using these words while chanting during Thunder games, plus in advertising and on banners. The composer sought up to 30% of the Thunder net gross as compensation. But, alas, the court gave the composer a slam dunk facial, pointing out that words and short phrases, including slogans, are ordinarily not copyrightable, that these common cheers do not contain minimal creativity supporting copyright protection, and that the idea embodied in these cheers merge into the common expression of the cheers. The court pointed out that merely because a copyright registration issues does not mean that there is copyright protection. Syrus v. Bennet (10th Cir., Nov. 3, 2011).

How To Void Trademark Insurance Coverage. Rockland was sued for trademark infringement, told its insurance company, GAIC, about the lawsuit some seven weeks later, and forwarded a copy of the papers to GAIC after about three months. The Second Circuit held that the obligation to provide immediate or prompt notice of claims to an insurer is breached when the purported covered party waits seven weeks to provide oral notice of a claim and three months to provide written notice of a claim. Rockland Exposition v. Great America Ins. Co. (2d Cir., Nov. 2, 2011).

Marybeth Peters Is Now A Part Of The Public Domain. Marybeth Peters, recently retired as U.S. Register of Copyrights for the past 16 years, has joined the private sector, electing to become a practicing attorney with the Oblon Spivak firm of Alexandria, Virginia. You cannot keep a good copyright lawyer down -- congratulations, Marybeth!

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