Passing off and Justin Bieber Essay

Submitted By MichelleRamirez1
Words: 1452
Pages: 6

RC3, Incorporation v. Bieber

The title of the case is, “RC3, INC. v. Bieber.” This case is about a musician named Justin Bieber and a parody web application called, Joustin Beaver. An app-creator RC3, of a pre-emptive lawsuit against Bieber, claiming the right to operate, maintain and distribute their parody video game app ‘Joustin Beaver,” which is available in iTunes for $0.99. Bieber is seeking for injunction as a remedy; he wants RC3 to stop making the video game app and stop selling it. In addition, Bieber argued that the app is a violation of publicity rights and infringement.
The lawsuit started in February 2012, on the instructions of Justin Bieber. The Biebers’ attorneys sent a cease and discontinue letter to RC3 demanding that the App-developer terminate the App and remove it from the iTunes stores and all e-commerce sites. The letter alleged a number of contraventions, including passing off, unfair competition, dilution, misrepresentation, misappropriation of name for commercial purposes, violation of rights of publicity and trademark infringement. Publicity Rights are the celebrity’s right to exclusively use of name and likeness for live event and/ or recorded televised use. It is basically how celebrities make a living. Also, celebrity publicity rights is often referred to as the fourth branch of the privacy tort, the right of publicity embodies a right to control the use of one’s identity for commercial purposes; nowadays most states conceive of publicity rights as a form of property, in this case RC3 obtained the benefits of the celebrity distinction to make profit. It is more likely that Justin Bieber will have emotional distress because the game app can damage his reputation and consequently can be reflected in some form of mental battery. According to the Lanham Act, trademark is defined as any word, symbol, or device used by a person to identify good, not services then it is a limited property right. Infringement is a name or symbol confusingly similar that can confuse the public. There are two elements to prove an infringement; first, Access; is when a copyright is violated only if the prior work had been copied, the owner of the work must established that the later author had access to the protected work and that the later work displayed undue similarity to the original creation or work. Substantial Similarities, is the second requirement for a finding of infringement upon any work, if one work is similar, almost identical, the owner of the work can argued that the later work have substantial similarities. When negotiations failed to provide a resolution between the parties, not willing to just ‘Leave it to Bieber’, RC3 filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration to preserve its rights with respect to the App. In RC3’s complaint for declaratory judgment, it seeks declarations under the United States Lanham Act, that the operation, maintenance and distribution of the App, the use of the term ‘Joustin Beaver’ and all associated materials do not infringe, dilute or violate the rights of Justin Bieber. The Lanham Act is a federal law that prohibits false and misleading statements and advertising, so by doing the Joustin Beaver app name, people can acquire confusion of whether or not they are buying the real work. RC3 has even required appealing the United States Constitution, claiming that its right to parody the commercial success of Justin Bieber through a beaver on a mobile app is protected under the First Amendment. The first amendment limited the public versus the media; it is freedom of speech but they are some limitations of what it can be said.
Bieber’s attorneys promptly responded to the RC3 lawsuit by declaring that RC3 filed the lawsuit in the wrong state, claiming it should have been filed in California because Justin Bieber resides here rather than Florida, where the original cease and discontinue letter was served. In order to determine whether this Court has personal jurisdiction over Bieber…