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Appeals court upholds Warner Bros.’ Superman rights

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A federal appeals court has again sided with DC Comics and Warner Bros. in the long-running feud over the rights to the Man of Steel.

As first reported by THR, Esq., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a 2013 ruling that the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel relinquished their claim to the character in a 2001 settlement with DC, and therefore are not able to terminate the copyright.

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Supreme Court asked to consider Batmobile copyright case

#1 Batmobile, Superheroes, gadgets, Cable Cutter, Bat-Ray Projec

A manufacturer of unlicensed Batmobile replicas has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether Batman’s signature vehicle is indeed protected by copyright.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mark Towle of Gotham Garage filed a writ of certiorari today asking the justices to review his nearly five-year-old dispute with DC Comics.

Towle, who produced replicas of  the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles that sold for as much as $90,000 each, was sued in 2011 by DC, which claimed copyright and trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting and unfair competition. Towle had argued that the U.S. Copyright Act doesn’t protect “useful articles,” defined as objects that have “an intrinsic utilitarian function” (for example, clothing, household appliances or, in this case, automobile functions); in short, that the Batmobile’s design is merely functional.

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Artist charged in alleged ‘Kung Fu Panda’ shakedown

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A Massachusetts cartoonist has been charged with fraud and perjury stemming from his failed 2011 copyright-infringement lawsuit against DreamWorks Animation involving the 2008 blockbuster Kung Fu Panda.

According to an indictment unsealed just before Christmas by the U.S. District Attorney in Boston, artist Jayme Gordon claimed the studio had stolen the characters and story for the 2008 blockbuster, and filed a lawsuit “as part of a fraud scheme designed to obtain a multi-million-dollar settlement” from the company.

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Is Gollum good or evil? A Turkish court may have to decide

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With a doctor’s freedom at stake, a Turkish court as asked a committee of experts to take up the question of whether Gollum from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is good or evil.

Bilgin Ciftci faces up to two years in prison on charges that he insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by comparing the politician to Gollum in a series of photos posted on Twitter.

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Man pleads not guilty to charges he posed as agent to score con passes

The crowd at Salt Lake Comic Con 2015

The crowd at Salt Lake Comic Con 2015

A Utah man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he posed as a federal agent to try to secure VIP passes to Salt Lake Comic Con.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jonathon M. Wall of Layton, Utah, was indicted in October on charges of impersonating a federal officer and making a false statement to a federal agent. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison on the first count and up to five years on the second. Each count also carries a potential fine of $250,000.

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Men suspected of plotting Pokemon attack plead not guilty

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Bail was set Tuesday at $150,000 for the two Iowa men accused of plotting an armed attack against the Pokemon World Championships, held in Boston in August. That’s double the amount requested by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of possession of a large-capacity weapon and other crimes.

The Boston Herald reports that in setting the bail, Suffolk Superior Court Clerk-Magistrate Gary D. Wilson explained their are no conditions of release that would prevent the defendants from purchasing more firearms. “They can buy guns anywhere: Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops. … I’m not going to add a thousand conditions that are virtually unenforceable.”

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Men suspected in Pokemon championship plot head back to court

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Two Iowa men suspected of plotting to attack the Pokemon World Championships in August will be arraigned today in a Boston courtroom.

Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, have been held without bail on firearms charges since their arrests on Aug. 22 after police found guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the car the two drove to the Boston event. Prosecutors say they made multiple online threats against the Pokemon World Championships, which they’d been invited to attend.

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Mistaking cosplayer for gunman, London police arrest Winter Soldier

winter soldier

via the Daily Mirror

Armed police swarmed London’s Canary Wharf on Saturday, and accomplished what Captain America failed to do in his 2014 film: apprehend the Winter Soldier. Or at least someone dressed like the Winter Soldier.

According to the Daily Mirror, London Metropolitan Police responded to a report of a man with a shotgun in the business district, and quickly arrested a 29-year-old at West India Quay station. Although one witness quoted feared he was watching an attempted terrorist attack, it turns out the guy was a cosplayer, likely attending the weekend convention in Brighton.

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Driver found guilty in 2014 San Diego ZombieWalk crash

From the 2014 ZombieWalk crash

From the 2014 ZombieWalk crash

A man who drove through a crowd last year at the annual ZombieWalk held during Comic-Con International was convicted this morning of felony reckless driving. A 64-year-old woman was seriously injured in the incident.

Matthew Ponci, 47, could face three years in prison when he’s sentenced on Dec. 11.

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Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm & Sanrio slice into cake-frosting seller

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Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm have joined with Sanrio to stop a company from selling unlicensed cake frosting featuring their incredibly lucrative properties.

As first reported by THR, Esq., the entertainment giants filed a trademark- and copyright-infringement lawsuit against George and Danielle Wilson, whose Wilson Cake Imaging offers printed, edible frosting sheets and cake toppers depicting a wide range of characters and performers.

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Pokemon Company drops the hammer on unsanctioned fan party

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The Pokémon Company International filed a lawsuit last week that shut down an unsanctioned Pokémon-themed party tied to PAX Prime in Seattle.

The company, which manages the multibillion-dollar Pokémon property outside Asia, on Wednesday sued the organizers of the for-profit “5th Annual Unofficial Pokemon PAX Kickoff Party,” accusing them of copyright infringement, specifically citing the use of Pikachu and Snivy in promotional images. Ramar Larkin Jones, Zach Shore and Ruckus Productions are named as defendants in the complaint.

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Disney, Marvel ‘want no part’ of Times Square fight, NYPD says

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Although New York City had hoped to enlist Disney and Marvel in a crackdown on troublesome costumed characters in Times Square, the police commissioner insists the entertainment giants “want no part of it.”

The New York Daily News reports that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton singled out the two companies for refusing to take action against the performers — long a thorn in the sides of local businesses and politicians — for unlicensed use of their trademarks.

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New Zealand tire shop’s superhero mascot no match for DC

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A tire shop in New Zealand is changing its logo to avoid a costly legal battle with DC Comics, which insists its superhero mascot too closely resembles the Man of Steel.

The New Zealand Herald reports that Marie and Gene Young, owners of Super Tyre Guy in the small town Paeroa, received a cease-and-desist letter two weeks ago demanding they immediately stop using the costumed character.

Appearing on signage, T-shirts and a car advertising the Youngs’ business, Super Tyre Guy is dressed in a blue costume with orange (or perhaps red) cape, shorts and boots, and sports a diamond-shaped chest emblem containing the letter “G.” (For “Guy,” maybe?) It’s difficult to argue that the character doesn’t look a lot like Superman.

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Dispute over ‘Comic Con’ name is heading to court

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Settlement talks have stalled between the organizers of Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con, which means the dispute over the “Comic Con” trademark may end up being resolved in federal court.

According to the Deseret News, a judge has given the two parties until the end of the month to schedule pretrial hearings. However, Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg says a settlement is still possible.

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Disney and Deadmau5 settle trademark fight

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Disney and Deadmau5 have resolved their dispute over his attempt to trademark his signature “mau5head” logo.

Although the terms of their agreement haven’t been made public, an attorney for the superstar DJ/producer (aka Joel Zimmerman) told The Hollywood Reporter, “Disney and Deadmau5 have amicably resolved their dispute.”

According to the website, details of the settlement will likely be included in paperwork filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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