Legal Archives - Page 2 of 7 - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Disney tries to block Deadmau5 logo trademark

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Disney is attempting to prevent DJ/producer Deadmau5 from trademarking his signature mouse-head logo, claiming it’s too similar to the iconic Mickey Mouse silhouette. Signs that the entertainment giant would oppose the application surfaced in late March.

In a staggering 171-page notice of opposition filed Tuesday with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and first reported by TMZ, Disney traces its use of the familiar imagery back to “at least 1928,” with the introduction of Mickey in Steamboat Willie. Disney news site Stitch Kingdom has more details about the filing, in which the company argues the mouse ears have been a key element of its consumer products “at least as early as 1955″ (that’s the year The Mickey Mouse Club premiered on television).

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SD Convention Center expansion goes back to drawing board

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San Diego City Council decided Tuesday it won’t appeal a court ruling that struck down the hotel tax devised to fund most of the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

That leaves the financing “up in the air,” council President Todd Gloria told City News Service after the unanimous vote. “It means we’re going to have to spend some time figuring out a way to pay for this project or find a new one.”

In short, as Scott Lewis writes on Voice of San Diego, after six years and $10 million, the expansion plan is dead.

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San Diego City Council to meet about convention center ruling

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San Diego City Council will meet this afternoon in a closed session to discuss whether to appeal a recent California appeals court ruling that cripples the funding plan for the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

According to City News Service, council members don’t necessarily have to reach a decision today — although City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told them earlier this month that they have until Sept. 10 to file an appeal with the Supreme Court of California. Before any action is taken, however, an open session will be held to allow the public to offer input.

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Trial set for December in death of elderly comic collector

Rico J. Vendetti

Rico J. Vendetti

A Rochester, New York, businessman will stand trial for murder in December in the 2010 death of an elderly comic book collector.

According to the Batavia, New York, Daily News, the trial of Rico J. Vendetti is scheduled for Dec. 5 in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. Dates still haven’t been set for his four co-defendants.

Vendetti is accused of hiring seven people to steal the valuable comics collection of 77-year-old Homer Marciniak of Medina, New York. According to police and prosecutors, when Marciniak awoke during the July 5, 2010, burglary, he was beaten and knocked to the floor. They burglars fled with the comics, safes, cash, coins and guns.

Although Marciniak suffered only cuts and bruises from the attack, and was able to give a statement to police, he died hours later from a heart attack.

Vendetti, who owned a collectibles store, was arrested along with seven others within a few months. The U.S. Attorney stepped in to file murder charges against Vendetti and four of his co-defendants, arguing that the burglary led to Marciniak’s death.

He’s also accused of racketeering and witness tampering.

Ed Kramer didn’t violate plea deal, district attorney determines

ed kramerEd Kramer’s social-media activity didn’t violate the terms of his plead agreement, meaning he isn’t headed back to jail just yet. However, Gwinnett County (Georgia) District Attorney Danny Porter indicated it’s only a matter of time before the DragonCon co-founder makes a misstep.

“He’s very adept at the Internet … and he’s going to test us at every opportunity,” Porter told Atlanta’s WSB-AM last week.  “So it’s still my belief that before this is all over, he’s going to violate his probation and I’m going to have him in prison.”

The D.A. began an investigation last month into Kramer’s online activity after reports circulated that his Twitter account was being followed by a 14-year-old girl and his Google+ page showed a connection to the then-14-year-old boy he was found with in a Connecticut hotel room in 2011.

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San Diego has until Sept. 10 to appeal convention center ruling

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San Diego City Council recessed for summer break Thursday without deciding how to respond to a state appeals court ruling that the plan to finance the $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center is unconstitutional.

A three-judge panel ruled last week that the room surcharge, approved two years ago by hoteliers and City Council, has to be put to a citywide vote. The financing scheme, which would have added another 1 cent to 3 cents per dollar to room taxes, was expected to generate about $35 million annually.

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Man sentenced for insider trading in Disney-Marvel deal

disney-marvel-logoA San Francisco man was sentenced Thursday to three months in federal prison and ordered to pay $122,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to using insider information to make big bucks in Disney’s purchase of Marvel.

Law360 reports that in 2009, Toby G. Scammell was told by his girlfriend, a Disney extern working on the Marvel acquisition, that the entertainment giant was planning to buy a company “people would recognize right away.” Using her work schedule and their vacation plans, he was able to deduce when the deal would likely close, and learned from his then-employer — a consulting firm that had been contracted by Disney on occasion — that the company was interested in Marvel.

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Randy Queen: ‘I reacted without thinking’ to art critiques

queen darkchyldeWidely ridiculed this week for filing copyright takedown notices and threatening legal action against a blog that criticized his artwork, Darkchylde creator Randy Queen now acknowledges his response “was the wrong one to take.”

“I have been having a very hard time in my personal life with the loss of my mother and my marriage having fallen apart and found myself in a very vulnerable and fragile state of mind,” he explained this morning in a Facebook post. “There were posts on the web criticizing my artwork that were brought to my attention and added to my stress. I reacted without thinking it through, but have now stopped, realizing my response was the wrong one to take. I am doing my best, each day, to get myself back on my feet and getting my life in a better place and realize now that I have just try to move on and get back to my art, the thing I find the most joy in these days. I want to thank those professionals, friends and family who have been giving me their support, understanding and love.”

Queen had taken exception to critiques of some of his Darkchylde work on Escher Girls, a blog devoted to examining the way women are depicted in “illustrated pop media,” including comics. He sent Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices to Tumblr alleging copyright infringement in nine posts containing his covers. Entire posts, rather than just the images, were removed by the company.

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Police search Square Enix for evidence of copyright violations

Hi Score GirlThe Osaka police on Tuesday searched the Tokyo offices of game and manga publisher Square Enix as part of an investigation of alleged copyright violations.

The video game company SNK claims the manga Hi Score Girl, by Rensuke Oshihiri, contains more than 100 unauthorized uses of characters from its games, which include King of Fighters and Samurai Spirits. In addition to investigating materials confiscated from Square Enix headquarters and other offices, the police plan to question both Oshihiri and the editor of the series.

Serialized in Big Gangan magazine since 2010, Hi Score Girl is a romantic comedy involving two avid gamers, set during the 1990s 2D gaming boom. The collected editions list the owners of properties referenced in the story, including SNK, with a copyright mark, suggesting permission was given, but when SNK was contacted by a production company that planned to produce an anime adaptation, they determined the use was unauthorized.

SNK sent out a press release early today saying it had asked Square Enix to stop selling the manga but did not receive a “sincere response,” so the company filed criminal charges. The case is being investigated by the Osaka Police’s Consumer and Economic Crime Division.

Ruling leaves San Diego Convention Center expansion in doubt

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Delivering a crippling blow to the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, a California appeals court ruled Friday that the hotel tax devised to fund most of the project is unconstitutional.

Although hoteliers and city council approved the room surcharge two years ago, U-T San Diego reports the three-judge panel unanimously found that the tax had to be put to a citywide vote. Several groups, including San Diegans for Open Government, opposed the funding scheme, arguing that the arrangement amounted to privatizing the city’s taxing authority. A Superior Court judge sided with the city in March 2013, but opponents appealed the ruling.

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Randy Queen responds to critics with takedown notices, legal threat

darkchyldeDarkchylde creator Randy Queen faces growing online criticism after he filed copyright takedown notices to remove a series of Tumblr posts critical of his work, and then threatened legal action when the blog’s owner publicized his actions.

Operated by Ami Angelwings, Escher Girls is devoted to critiquing the way women are depicted in “illustrated pop media,” including comics. On Saturday, she revealed Queen had sent Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices to Tumblr alleging copyright infringement in nine posts containing his covers. Entire posts, rather than just the images, were removed by the company.

“To date,” she wrote, “Mr. Queen is the only artist who has taken this kind of action” against Escher Girls. She later offered an update, saying the Darkchylde artist had attempted to have that post removed as well.

Queen reportedly followed that with an email to Escher Girls threatening to sue for defamation:

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Judge calls Sherlock Holmes licensing fee ‘a form of extortion’

sherlock holmesIn June, Judge Richard Posner gleefully dismantled the Arthur Conan Doyle estate’s case, and confirmed the bulk of the Sherlock Holmes stories belongs to the public domain. However, it turns out he wasn’t quite finished.

As Hollywood, Esq., reports, today the appellate court judge ordered the estate to pay more than $30,000 in legal fees to author Leslie Klinger — and he took the opportunity to get in a few more licks.

Although 50 Sherlock Holmes stories were released before Jan. 1, 1923, the Doyle estate long insisted that publishers, television networks and film studios pay a licensing fee to use the characters and story elements. Most, including Warner Bros., BBC and CBS, complied, but Klinger — an author, editor and Holmes scholar — refused to pay $5,000 while assembling In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of new stories written by different authors. When the Doyle estate sent a letter to the publisher threatening to block sales of the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers, Klinger sued.

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Disney gets legal fees, judge’s criticism in Stan Lee Media case

disney-marvel-logoA federal judge in Colorado has awarded Disney $239,941 in attorney fees in one of its legal battles with Stan Lee Media over the rights to the Marvel characters co-created by Stan Lee — half of what the entertainment giant was seeking.

Law360 reports that U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez on Thursday admonished Disney’s attorneys for requesting $461,882, which he found “grossly excessive,” while also maintaining that Stan Lee Media was unreasonable in its pursuit of copyright claims after three other courts already determined there was no legal basis for the suit.

“It shocks the court’s conscience that defendants would bill almost half a million dollars, or 900 hours, on a case with minimal discovery that was resolved on a motion to dismiss,” the judge wrote.

It was Martinez who in September granted Disney’s motion, dismissing Stan Lee Media’s 2012 copyright-infringement lawsuit and saying it would be “futile” to permit the failed dot-com — which has had no connection to its co-founder and namesake for more than a decade — to amend its claim.

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Supreme Court won’t stay Sherlock Holmes copyright ruling

sherlock holmesUnfortunately for the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Case of the Sherlock Holmes Copyrights” hasn’t developed into much of a mystery, as its efforts to prevent many of the stories and characters from lapsing into the public domain have met with one defeat after another.

The latest came Thursday from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kegan, who refused to delay the June 16 decision by the Seventh Circuit that the characters and story elements in the first 50 Sherlock Holmes stories are no longer protected by U.S. copyright, and therefore available for other writers and artists to use and adapt.

Considering those stories were published before Jan. 1, 1923, it might seem obvious that they had lapsed into the public domain in the United States. However, the Doyle estate has long been protective of the lucrative property, insisting that publishers, television networks and film studios pay a licensing fee to use the characters and story elements. Many, including Warner Bros. and CBS, have complied. But Holmes expert Leslie Klinger, who served as a consultant on Guy Richie’s film adaptations, refused to hand over $5,000 while he was assembling In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of new stories written by different authors. When the Doyle estate sent a letter to the publisher threatening to block sales of the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers, Klinger sued.

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Singapore bans Archie collection featuring Kevin Keller wedding [Updated]

archie-the married lifeThe third volume of Archie comics’ Archie: The Married Life has been banned in Singapore because the collection includes the issue depicting the wedding of gay character Kevin Keller.

The move was discovered by Singapore-based cartoonist Sonny Liew (The Shadow Hero, My Life With Frankie), who searched for the collection in the Books Kinokuniya online catalog following the controversial decision by the National Library Board to removed and destroy copies of three gay-themed children’s books amid public pressure.

Finding volumes 1, 2, 4 and 5 but not the third — which contains Keller’s marriage to Clay Walker in Life With Archie #16 — Liew contacted the retailer, and received the following response: “We regret that Archie the Married Life 3 is deemed to breach the Content Guidelines for Imported Publications, and removed from sale by notice of MDA. We are not able to sell this title.”

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