Hollywood Docket: Chubby Checker Settles Penis Size App Lawsuit

Chubby Checker
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Chubby Checker

A roundup of entertainment law news including the Sony's troublsome Playstation hack and Fox's (significant) "Glee" problems in the U.K.

Ernest Evans, the singer-songwriter who performed as Chubby Checker, sued HP last year for selling the app under the punning title "the Chubby Checker." In the settlement, filed July 22, HP admits no liability but agrees not to make use of the singer’s stage name, related trademarks or likeness.

The suit had claimed contributory trademark infringement against the software company, as the app was designed and named by a third party but approved by HP for sale in its app store.

The company claimed in a motion to dismiss that it had authorized the app without knowledge of Chubby Checker’s trademarks, and that upon learning of them in the 2012 cease-and-desist letter from Evans’ attorneys, had removed the app within days. A judge sided with Evans that he was "internationally known" as Chubby Checker and that HP's "detailed" app approval process should have discovered his name. Evans' trademark infringement claims were allowed.

But his claims of unfair competition and right of publicity -- claims under state law -- were dismissed on the basis of Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act. The statute holds that online “service providers” cannot be held responsible for the content third parties publish on them.

In other entertainment law news:

-- In other hacking news, Sony has signed an agreement to settle a class action suit over the 2011 hack of its online Playstation Network. Personal information from 77 million users was stolen in the hack, including names, addresses, email addresses and passwords. Sony apologized to gamers, shut down the network for several weeks, and attempted to win back users with free credit card monitoring and a "welcome back" promotion that included free games. The new preliminary agreement would provide users joining the class action suit with $15 million worth of free games and services, including free subscriptions to the Sony Music Unlimited streaming service. A judge has yet to approve the agreement.

-- Earlier this year, a UK judge ruled that Fox's hit show Glee infringes the trademark of an Oxford comedy club named the "The Glee Club." This week, news reports circulated that the judge had ordered Fox to change the name of the show in the UK. But that's not all. According to this report of the judge's decision, the plaintiff is being allowed to go after the show's profits. What's more, Fox might have to inform viewers of the court's judgment.

A version of this article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter