Court Hold’s “Stock Elements” of Beyoncé’s Lemonade Video Don’t Infringe Short Film

Matthew Fulks v. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Factual Allegations:

  • Beyoncé’s trailer and film for the release of her album “Lemonade” infringes the plaintiff’s copyright in his short film
  • The plaintiff produced nine visual, audio, and “total concept and feel” alleged similarities

Holding:

  • The alleged similarities consist almost entirely of ideas not original to the plaintiff, and of stock elements with which a casual observer would be familiar
  • Sharing the same narrative theme, same aesthetic mood, and pace are unprotectable ideas
  • The differences between each of the works overwhelm superficial similarity

 

NAD Reviews “Natural” Claims

In re The Colgate Palmolive Co.

Ad Claims:

  • Tom’s of Maine Antiperspirant:
    • “Naturally Dry” (product name)
    • “Natural”
    • “It Really Works. Naturally.”
  • Class action already settled regarding above claims

Decision:

  • Class action settlement didn’t resolve the truthfulness of claims so the NAD had jurisdiction
  • Active ingredient is not natural because, while derived from nature, it was highly processed
  • “Natural” claims, which imply that natural ingredients were responsible for dryness, were inappropriate
  • Packaging that directed consumers to the website for a definition of “natural” was insufficient

 

Court Looks at Substantiation Requirements

FTC v. Coore

Ad Claim #1:

  • “Grey Defence is a leading anti-aging dietary supplement that reverses grey hair”

Decision:

  • The “efficacy” claim requires “reasonable substantiation”
  • While a human trial is not necessarily required by law, FTC provided evidence that such was reasonable in the field and Coore did not prove otherwise

Ad Claim #2:

  • “‘Scientifically shown’ to reverse and prevent grey hair”

Decision:

  • This “non-specific establishment claim” requires proof that the claim is based upon a “foundation of scientific evidence,” which Coore did not have
  • While some of the claims referenced Coore’s “observational study” this did not turn it into merely an “established claim,” which only requires the proof state

 

CARU Goes After YouTuber/Influencer Re “Advertising” Disclosure

In re EvanTubeHD, EvanTubeRAW, and EvanTubeGaming

Factual Allegations:

  • EvanTube channels feature a 10-year-old boy named Evan “unboxing,” playing with, and reviewing toys
  • Evan earns revenue through a mix of pre-roll ads and sponsorships from marketers
  • Had disclosure on some videos in text and audio form
    • “Brought to you by” and “Sponsored by”

Holding:

  • Kids understand “ad” or “advertisement,” not necessarily “Brought to you by” or “Sponsored by”
  • Disclosures should be standardized, and should be in audio format, given that young children may not be able to read the text versions
  • YouTube channel will run audio disclosures stating that videos are ads at the beginning of sponsored videos

 

Court Looks at Puffery

Loggerhead Tools v. Sears Holdings

Ad Claim #1:

  • “Unique design”
    • Allegation was that Sears copied the design so it wasn’t “unique”

Decision:

  • Product is “unique” from an express perspective because there are differences
  • The plaintiff didn’t provide consumer evidence proving the claim was impliedly false

Ad Claim #2:

  • “Latest innovation from Craftsman”
    • Allegation was that Sears copied the design so it wasn’t innovative

Decision:

  • “Innovative” is puffery from an express claim perspective because it wasn’t tied to a measurable attribute
  • The plaintiff didn’t provide consumer evidence proving the claim  was impliedly false