virtual marilyn v. estate of marilyn

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  • 8/11/2019 Virtual Marilyn v. Estate of Marilyn Monroe.pdf

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    J S 44C/SDNYREV. 4 /2014

    CIVIL COVER SHEET

    edhereBneitrjBeplaceftrMpImentthefilingarSsecefJiprovid*by Aiules oAoudVhisform,approveBbySnf QJ1974, iiBMiuireaCruse oHlre Clerk ofCourtfor therurpow*f

    The JS-44 civil cover sheet and the information containedpleadingsorotherpapersas required by law, exceptasJudicial Conference ofthe United States in Septemberinitiating the civil docket sheet.

    P L A I N T I F F S

    vSrv iM>rtTiucW&y ^iul toK*M^AM,ucATTORNEYS FIRM NAME,ADDRESS, ANDTELEPHONENUMBER ATTORNEYS IF KNOWN)

    tikf ofRtctofpUlftl lk p tm - y* V~ Vv* /* Ttt:m-tfi osn6

    CAUSEOF ACTIOl CITETHEU.S.CIVILSTATUTEUNDERWHICHYOUAREFILINGANDWRITEABRIEFSTATEMENTOF CAUSEDO NOT CITEJURISDICTIONALSTATUTESUNLESS DIVERSITY

    2 USCfltfl <

    I ] 375 FALSE CLAIMSf J400 STATE

    REAPPORTIONMENT

    [ ]410 ANTITRUST[ j430 BANKS&BANKING[ ]450 COMMERCE[ ] 460 DEPORTATION[ ] 470 RACKETEER INFLU

    E N C E D & C O R R U P T

    fciffiO COPYRIGHTS ORGANIZATION ACT[1 830 PATENT[ ] 840 TRADEMARK

    (RICO)[ ] 480 CONSUMERCREDIT[ ] 490 CABLE/SATELLITETV

    S O C I A L S E C U R I T Y [ ] 850 SECURITIES/COMMODITIES/

    L A B O R

    [ ] 710 FAIRLABORSTANDARDS AC T

    [ ] 7 20 LABOR/MGMTRELATIONS

    [ ] 7 40 RAILWAY LABOR ACT[ ] 751 FAMILY MEDICAL

    [ ] 861 HIA(1395ff)[ ] 8 62 BLACK LUNG(923)[ ] 863 DIWC/DIWW(405(g))[ ] 864 SSID TITLEXVI[ ] 865 RSI (405(g))

    FEDERAL TA X SUITS

    E X C H A N G E

    [ ] 890 OTHER STATUTORYA C T I O N S

    [ ] 8 91 AGRICULTURAL ACTS

    LEAVEACT (FMLA)

    [ ]790 OTHER LABORLITIGATION

    [ ]791 EMPLRETINCSECURITY AC T

    [ ] 870 TAXES (U.S. PlaintifforDefendant)

    [ J871 IRS-THIRD PARTY26 US C 76 9

    [ ] 8 93 ENVIRONMENTALMATTERS

    [ ]895 FREEDOMOFI N F OR M AT IO N A C T

    [ ] 896 ARBITRATION

    IMMIGRATION[ ] 899 ADMINISTRATIVE

    PROCEDURE ACT/REVIEW

    [ ] 4 62 NATURALIZATIONAPPLICATION

    [ ]465 OTHER IMMIGRATIONA C T I O N S

    APPEAL OF AGENCY DECISI

    [ ] 9 50 CONSTITUTIONALITYS TAT E S TAT U T E S

    [ ] 2 1 0

    22

    23 0

    24

    24 5

    [ ]290

    LAND

    CONDEMNATIONF O R E C L O S U R ER E N T L E A SE &E J E C T M E N T

    T O RT S T O LANDT O RT P R O DU C TLIABILITY

    ALL O T H E R

    R E A L P R O P E RT Y

    Checkifdemanded in complaint:

    CHECK IFTHIS IS ACLASS ACTIONUNDER F.R.C.P. 2 3

    DEMAND $_ O T H E R

    Check YESonlyifdemandeain complaintJURY DEMAND: 5/YES LNO

    PRISONER CIVIL RIGHTS

    [ ] 550 CIVILRIGHTS[ ]555 PRISON CONDITIONI 56 0 CIVIL DETAINEE

    CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT

    DOYOU CLAIM THIS CASE IS RELATED TO A CIVIL CASE NOWPENDINGINS.D.N.Y.?

    JUDGE DOCKET NUMBER

    A

    NOTE:You must also submit at the time of filing the Statement of Relatedness form(Form IH-

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    ^

    (PLACEANxINONEBOXONLY) ORIGIN

    JSTl Original 2 Removedfrom 3 RemandedD 4 Reinstated orQ 5 TransferredfromQ6 Multidistrict 7AppealtoDistr^ Proceeding stateCourt from Reopened SpecifyDistrict LitigationXistraTjud a. allpartiesrapreianted Appellate Judgment

    | | b. At leastoneparty is pr o se .

    PLACEANxINONEBOXONLY BASISOF JURISDICTION IFDIVERSITY,INDICATE 1US PLAINTIFF 2 U.S.DEFENDANTJ3 FEDERALQUESTIOND4 DIVERSITY CITIZENSHIPBELOW(U.S. NOT A PARTY) ,

    CITIZENSHIPOFPRINCIPALPARTIES FORDIVERSITYCASESONLY) /VrVT(Place an [X] inone boxfor Plaintiffand one boxfor Defendant)

    PTF DEF PTFDEF PTF DEFCITIZEN OF THIS STATE [11 [11 CITIZEN OR SUBJECT OFA [ ]3 [ ]3 INCORPORATED and PRINCIPAL PLACE [ ]5 [ ]5

    FOREIGN COUNTRY OF BUSINESS IN ANOTHER STATE

    CITIZEN OFANOTHER STATE []2 [ ]2 INCORPORATED or PRINCIPAL PLACE [ ]4 [ ]4 FOREIGN NATION [ ]6 [ ]6O F B U S IN E S S IN THIS STATE

    PLAINTIFF(S) ADDRESS(ES) AND COUNTY(IES)

    DEFENDANT(S) ADDRESS(ES) ANDCOUNTY(IES)

    DEFENDANT(S) ADDRESS UNKNOWNREPRESENTATION IS HEREBY MADETHAT,AT THIS TIME, I HAVE BEEN UNABLE, WITH REASONABLE DILIGENCE,TO ASCERTAIN

    RESILIENCE ADDRESSES OF TH E FOLLOWING DEFENDANTS:

    Checkone: THIS ACTIONSHOULD E ASSIGNEDTO WHITEPLAINS j^MANHATTAN(DO NOT check either boxifthis a PRISONER PETITION/PRISONERCIVIL RIGHTSCOMPLAINT.) J yl

    DATE O/lhoiU SIGNATURE OF ATTORNEY OFRECOBdVAU ^/S/6/s' ADMITTEDTOPRACTICEINTHIS DISTRICT/ / jq. YES DATE ADMITTEDMo. P Yr.W^2RECEIPT AttorneyBarCode 22*72. J*/A/*=

    Magistrate Judge is to be designated bythe Clerkof the Court.

    Magistrate Judge MAH TTmHP TOTT isso Designated.

    Ruby J. Krajick, Clerk of Court by Deputy Clerk, DATED .

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT (NEW YORK SOUTHERN)

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    O

    U N IT E D S TAT E S D I S TR I CT COURT

    SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK _ .JUDGESQWUN

    VIRTUAL MARILYN, LLC, Case No:

    Plaintiff, Date Filed: October 1,2014

    -against-

    T H E E STATE O F M A RI LY N MONROE,

    Defendant. J U RY T R I A L REQUESTED

    4 CV 7 9 3 8LTX, COMPLAINT * ^

    N T U R E A N D S U M M R Y O F T I O N

    This is a declaratory judgment actionto adjudicate the rights and legal relationsofthe parties regarding, inter alia, their conflicting claims to ownership anduseof different

    r

    types of intellectual property rights involvingthe persona ofthe deceased human beingcd

    Marilyn Monroe. In2012, the United States CourtofAppeals for the Ninth Circuijh _|_ zg

    determined, inter alia that (a)Marilyn Monroe's personarightsexpired in 1962 when -

    she died and, as a result, (b) Marilyn Monroe's Estate never inherited Marilyn Monroe')*?

    persona rights. Milton H. Green Archives, Inc. v Marilyn Monroe, LLC, 692F.3d 983,

    999-1000 9thCir. 2012) (the Persona Ruling ). Although the Persona Ruling indicates

    that MarilynMonroe's persona rights fell into the public domainwhen she died in 1962,

    Marilyn Monroe's Estate, which is controlled by a commercial licensingcompany(not

    by herheirs), continues to assertownership and use rightsto Marilyn Monroe's persona.

    Indeed, notwithstandingthe Persona Ruling, Defendant continues to extract (improperly)significant licensing fees from various persons and entities in returnfor Defendant

    allowing those persons and entities to use Marilyn Monroe's persona.

    o r

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    Plaintiff is the current owner of a federally registered copyrightin a fictional,

    computer-generated character called VM2-Virtual Marilyn or Virtual Marilyn (the

    Fictional VM Character ). The Fictional VM Character is described onits copyright

    registrationas encompassing,inter alia, audiovisual work and character artwork

    depicting acomputergeneratedvirtual actress adoptingthe persona ofMarilyn Monroe.

    Plaintiffalso is the currentownerof a separate federally registered copyright in a

    fictional story called VM2and The Legion of Vactors (the Fictional VM Story ). The

    Fictional VM Story is described on its copyrightregistration as encompassing,inter alia,

    a treatment for creationand exploitation of original computer generated characters

    adopting the personas of celebrated people.

    On July 29, 2014, Defendant publically assertedthat The Monroe Estate is a

    premier brand developmentand licensing company with exclusive ownership of

    intellectual propertyrights related to Marilyn Monroe. Defendanthas also asserted that

    (a) the useand licensing ofthe Virtual Marilyn isan infringement ofthe Monroe

    Estate's rightsin Ms. Monroe's identity andpersonathat is likelyto confuse consumers

    as to the Monroe Estate's association with or endorsement of Virtual Marilyn and/or any

    goods or services withwhich 'she' is associated ; (b) the use of Marilyn Monroe's

    identity andpersonawithoutthe Monroe Estate's priorauthorization constitutes unfair

    competition and false designation of origin ; and(c) the Monroe Estate demandsthat

    [thecopyright claimant] agreeto ceaseall current, if any, and future useand licensing ofVirtual Marilyn or any other marks, names, logos, designs, avatars, or the like based upon

    the identityand persona of Marilyn Monroe, and warns that it will seriously consider all

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    courses of action, including filinga federal lawsuit, if you do, in fact, use or license

    Virtual Marilyn.

    Plaintiff believes thereare several independentlegal reasons that provide Plaintiff

    with the right to use its federally registered copyrights inthe Fictional VM Characterand

    the FictionalVM Story - - as well as the right to use trademarks that derive from or relate

    to such federally registered copyrights- - without violatingDefendant's asserted

    trademark rightsin Marilyn Monroe's persona. For instance,due to the Persona Ruling,

    Plaintiffbelievesthat Defendantdoesnot have an enforceable trademarkright to use and

    license Marilyn Monroe s persona.

    Plaintiff, however, does not wishto be exposed to therisk of trademark damages

    to Defendant in the event the Court were to disagreewith Plaintiffs position regarding

    the nature, scope andextent of Plaintiffs asserted rights. In a situation where, as here,

    the parties have conflicting claims to ownership and use of different types of intellectual

    property rights involvingthe persona of the deceased human being MarilynMonroe,

    federal lawauthorizes the adjudication of those conflicting claims, issuesandrights

    through a declaratoryjudgment action.

    P R T I E