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Feds take first action against canceled Kickstarter project

doom-atlantic city

In its first crowdfunding case, the Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against the developer of a board game who raised more than $122,000 on Kickstarter but failed to deliver a product.

Erik Chevalier of The Forking Path Co. launched a fundraising campaign in 2012 for The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, a lighthearted Lovecraftian board game created independently by industry veterans Lee Moyer and Keith Baker. With pledge incentives that included original art, pewter playing pieces and an afternoon of hosted gaming, the Kickstarter effort rocketed past its original $30,000 goal.

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‘Attack on Titan’ abruptly pulled from Shanghai film festival

attack on titan-anime movie

The Shanghai International Film Festival has abruptly canceled a screening of Attack on Titan, which was blacklisted earlier this week by the Chinese government. The move comes just days before the start of the June 13-21 event.

Based on Hajime Isayama’s bestselling post-apocalyptic fantasy series, Attack on Titan is among 38 manga and anime titles banned Monday by the Chinese Ministry of Culture from print or digital distribution for containing “severely improper content.” Other works include Death Note, Black Butler and Claymore.

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China bans ‘Attack on Titan’ and ‘Death Note’

attack on titan-v1

Attack on Titan, Death Note and Black Butler are on a list of 38 manga and anime the Chinese Ministry of Culture has designated as “severely improper content” and banned from print or digital distribution within the country.

The ministry announced Monday it has shut down eight websites and sanctioned 29 more for carrying comics and anime that either were unlicensed or featured violent content, and it’s threatening to issue warnings and fines to websites that don’t remove the blacklisted titles.

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Court rules Moulinsart doesn’t own all the Tintin rights

tintin

Surprising virtually everyone, a Dutch court has ruled that Moulinsart SA, which fiercely protects Herge’s creations, doesn’t actually own all the rights to Tintin.

Agence France-Presse reports the commercial and copyright arm of the Herge Foundation had sued a small Dutch fan club in 2012, claiming it failed to secure the rights to republish Tintin art in one of its fanzines. However, what might’ve seemed like a fairly straightforward case of copyright versus fair use was turned on its ear when the attorney for the Herge Society fan club produced a 1942 document in which the author signed over Tintin’s publishing rights to his publisher Casterman.

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Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani sentenced to 12 years

Atena Farghadani (photo from CRNI)

Atena Farghadani (photo from CRNI)

Iranian political cartoonist Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “insulting the Iranian supreme leader.”

The charges stem from a cartoon Farghadani posted online that depicted members of the Iranian parliament with the heads of cows and monkeys. A painter as well as a cartoonist, Farghadani was also charged with “gathering and colluding with anti-revolutionary individuals and deviant sects” because she mingled with the relatives of political prisoners and members of the Baha’i faith during an exhibit of her paintings of protesters killed by the Iranian government.

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DC seeks to stop software company from trademarking ‘Gotham’

gotham city

After drawing widespread attention last week for its effort to block singer Rihanna from trademarking “Robyn,” DC Comics has turned its attention to Gotham.

In documents filed Tuesday, and first reported by Pirated Thoughts, DC has asked the United States Trademark and Patent Office to reject an attempt by software company Palantir Technologies to register “Gotham” as the name of a computer program. As the law blog notes, the product was previously referred to as “Palantir Gotham,” but for unknown reasons the company decided to drop the first half of the name, thereby attracting the watchful eyes DC’s attorneys.

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Retail giant puts walmart.horse parody site out to pasture

walmart horse

Following a two-month fight with Walmart, cartoonist Jeph Jacques has shut down his parody site walmart.horse and turned over the domain name to the retail giant.

“I didn’t feel like fighting them any more,” Jacques, creator of the webcomic Questionable Content, told The Guardian.

Launched in February, the website consisted solely of the above image, created from two public-domain photos superimposed on one another. The idea came to the cartoonist after he saw a list of new Top Level Domains, domain-name extensions that reflect specific interest. “The idea behind the site started out as a conversation with a friend of mine,” he explained in March. “We were extremely amused by the new .horse TLD and decided to register a bunch of ridiculous domain names with it.”

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DC moves to stop Rihanna from trademarking ‘Robyn’

rihanna

DC Comics is attempting to prevent the singer/actress Rihanna from registering a trademark for “Robyn,” arguing that it’s too similar to the name of Batman’s sidekick.

As first reported by Pirated Thoughts and The Outhousers, Rihanna — born Robyn Rihanna Fenty — filed the trademark application in June 2014 as part of a larger effort to build a fashion and cosmetics empire (she also filed an application for her last name). “Robyn” is intended to be used for “providing on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines,” which apparently sent up a red flag for DC’s lawyers.

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Jim Valentino files lawsuit over ‘ShadowHawk’ video game

Courtesy Retro Collect

Courtesy Retro Collect

Image Comics partner Jim Valentino has filed a copyright- and trademark-infringement lawsuit, claiming a company released a video game based on his signature creation ShadowHawk without his permission.

In a documents filed last week in Los Angeles federal court, and first reported by Courthouse News Service, Valentino accuses Rose Colored Gaming of acquiring materials produced in the early 1990s by Nintendo for a never-released ShadowHawk 16-bit game, and then selling its own “finished” version earlier this year. What’s more, the filing insists, the company used panels from one of Valentino’s comics for the packaging.

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Disney and Marvel settle Spider-Man dispute with theater

marvel superheroes

Disney and Marvel have reached a settlement with a Pennsylvania theater in a copyright- and trademark-infringement case that unexpectedly turned into another front in their legal battle with Stan Lee Media.

Law360 reports American Music Theatre has agreed to stop using Spider-Man and other Disney properties without permission, bringing to an end a September 2013 lawsuit over the musical revue Broadway: Now and Forever. If the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based theater violates the permanent injunction and consent order filed Thursday, it must pay $25,000 in actual or liquidated damages per work, plus attorneys’ fees.

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Artists sue Marvel, Disney over ‘Iron Man’ armor design

iron man-radixArtists Ben Lai and Ray Lai have sued Marvel and Disney, claiming the Iron Man films ripped off the body-armor designs from their comic Radix.

The two brothers, who own Horizon Comics Productions, first rang this bell in April 2013, issuing a press release to announce a cease-and-desist letter just ahead of the premiere of Iron Man 3. However, as THR, Esq., first reported, on Thursday they finally filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court against Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios, The Walt Disney Co. and a string of other defendants.

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Supreme Court won’t hear Stan Lee Media appeal

stan-lee

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear Stan Lee Media’s case against Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment, bringing to a definitive end at least one part of a legal battle that’s been waged for the better part of a decade.

The action lets stand the 2012 dismissal of a lawsuit seeking million in profits and ownership of the Marvel characters co-created by Lee, co-founder of the failed dot-com. Stan Lee Media had argued in its petition to the justices that the Ninth Circuit erred in October when it upheld the lower court’s decision.

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Brewery to redesign beer label over ‘Powers’ art similarities

Comparison courtesy of Myron Campbell

Comparison courtesy of Myron Campbell

A Canadian brewery is headed back to the drawing board after learning a label for its new line of comics-inspired beers looks a lot like one of Michael Avon Oeming’s drawings from Powers.

The Surrey Now reports Central City Brewers in Surrey, British Columbia, will stop all shipments of Detective Saison — the first in a series of beers intended to tell a larger story — while the logo is redesigned. “I can tell you that we’re in a very awkward situation right now,” company executive Tim Barnes told the newspaper, while not commenting directly on the similarities.

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Retail giant says ‘neigh’ to cartoonist’s walmart.horse domain

walmart horse

Jeph Jacques, creator of the long-running webcomic Questionable Content, may have come up with the website walmart.horse on a whim, but global retail leviathan isn’t amused. In fact, Walmart has demanded the cartoonist, well, stop horsing around.

Jacques explained to Ars Technica that the webpage was inspired by the latest batch of Top Level Domains, domain-name extensions that reflect different interests. “The idea behind the site started out as a conversation with a friend of mine — we were extremely amused by the new .horse TLD and decided to register a bunch of ridiculous domain names with it,” he said.

One of these was walmart.horse; the page consists entirely of the image above, which itself is composed of two public-domain photos superimposed on one another. Jacques calls it “postmodern Dadaism — nonsense-art using found objects.”

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Stan Lee Media asks high court to revive suit against Stan Lee

stan-lee

After losing one lawsuit after another in its eight-year battle for many of Marvel’s most famous characters, Stan Lee Media is looking to the U.S. Supreme Court for a reversal of fortune.

In a filing made public Friday, and first reported by Law360, the failed dot-com asked the justices to revive its lawsuit against co-founder and namesake Stan Lee, arguing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in its October dismissal.

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