Jim Brown vs. Electronic Arts: Fumbling Over Intellectual Property

In 2008, NFL legend Jim Brown filed suit against videogame manufacturer Electronic Arts (“EA”) for the use of his likeness in their Madden NFL title without consent.  EA claims they are shielded by the 1st Amendment to profit by including Brown’s likeness in its games.  Brown’s game-based jersey number and name are fictitious, but his team (Cleveland Browns), physical description and accomplishment described therein leave little doubt he is the subject. Late U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper sided with the defendants in September 2009, and Brown appealed to the 9th Circuit.  Lady Justice has spotted the ball on the 20 yard line – could Brown add another proverbial rushing touchdown to his impressive collection?

Smith’s Doctor Will Stand Trial

Yesterday, Superior Court Judge David Wesley rejected Dr. Sandeep Kapoor’s defense motion to drop two charges in the case related to the death of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith.  Los Angeles prosecutors charged the trio of Kapoor, former attorney Howard K. Stern and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich with co-conspiracy for illegally providing Smith with a deadly mix of prescription drugs.  With this denial, the case against Kapoor will proceed as scheduled later this month. In 2004, Smith came under Kapoor’s care after he took over her prior physician’s practice.  Kapoor’s questionable behavior started with prescribing the powerful, addictive opiate Dilaudid for six months after learning Smith cracked two ribs.  Kapoor claims he prescribed pills to Smith before he met Dr. Eroshevich, and later refused to sign a prescription list Eroshevich handed him.  He allegedly used a fictitious name for ANS’ prescriptions, but argues this act of “protection” does not support the drug charges. Despite Kapoor’s plea of not guilty, the trial begins on August 4 and opening statements commence on August 5.  Only time will tell what comes next!