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Robinson v. Delicious Vinyl Records Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 24, 2013

ROMYE ROBINSON, ET AL.,
v.
DELICIOUS VINYL RECORDS INC., ET AL.

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION OF AUGUST 1, 2013 PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION (Dkt. No. 54, filed August 30, 2013)

The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of October 7, 2013, is vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are complex. They are set forth in detail in this Court's minute order dated August 1, 2013. Dkt. No. 49. The facts and procedural history directly relevant to the consideration of this motion for clarification are set forth below.

On June 7, 2013, plaintiffs Romye Robinson and Imani Wilcox filed suit against defendants Delicious Vinyl, Inc. ("DVI"), Trevant Hardson, and Derrick Stewart. Plaintiffs assert the following fourteen claims for relief: (1) breach of the Settlement/Dissociation Agreement; (2) breach of the Tour Agreement; (3) breach of the Recording Contract; (4) common law trademark infringement of the Pharcyde mark; (5) common law trademark infringement of the Bizarre Ride mark; (6) violation of right of publicity pursuant to Cal. Civ. Code § 3344; (7) violation of common law right of publicity; (8) unfair competition pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); (9) unfair competition pursuant to Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200; (10) false advertising pursuant to Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500; (11) unjust enrichment; (12) injunctive relief; (13) accounting; and (14) declaratory relief.

Plaintiffs filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") on June 12, 2013. Dkt. No. 7. The Court denied plaintiff's application and ordered defendants to show cause as to why a preliminary injunction should not issue. Dkt. No. 16. On July 1, 2013, defendants filed an opposition to plaintiffs' application. Dkt. No. 24. On July 8, 2013, plaintiffs filed a reply. Dkt. No. 30. The Court held a hearing on July 22, 2013. The Court held a further telephonic conference on July 26, 2013. Per the Court's instructions, each side submitted a proposed preliminary injunction. The Court issued a preliminary injunction on August 1, 2013. Dkt. Nos. 49, 50. The injunction has not yet taken effect, because plaintiffs have not posted the required $50, 000 bond.

On August 30, 2013, defendants filed a motion for clarification of the terms of the preliminary injunction. Dkt. No. 54. Plaintiffs filed an opposition on September 9, 2013, Dkt. No. 57, and defendants filed a reply on September 16, 2013, Dkt. No. 60. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

An order imposing a preliminary injunction must "state its terms specifically, " and "describe in detail... the act or acts restrained or required." Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(d)(1). In order to ensure compliance with this rule, a district court may clarify the scope of an injunction. Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Carol Publ'g Group, Inc. , 25 F.Supp.2d 372, 374 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) (citing Regal Knitwear Co. v. NLRB , 324 U.S. 9, 15 (1945)). By clarifying the scope of a previously issued preliminary injunction, a court "add[s] certainty to an implicated party's effort to comply with the order and provide[s] fair warning as to what future conduct may be found contemptuous." See N.A. Sales Co., Inc. v. Chapman Indus. Corp. , 736 F.2d 854, 858 (2d Cir. 1984). Such clarification may be obtained on motion by a party or made on the court's own motion.

III. ANALYSIS

Defendants seek clarification of the scope of the preliminary injunction issued by this Court on August 1, 2013. Defendants argue that the preliminary injunction order (the "Order") contradicts the minutes (the "Minutes") issued by the Court on the same date. Mot. Clarification 8. In this regard, defendants argue that the Order imposes a "blanket prohibition, " beginning after November 23, 2013, on defendants' right to market and promote DVI's copyrighted works, such as the "Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde" album. Id. at 8-9. Defendants explain that this prohibition would interfere with their ability to promote live tributes or celebrations, featuring artists performing songs to which they hold the copyright. Id. at 9.

According to defendants, this prohibition contradicts the Minutes, because the Minutes did not indicate that DVI would be in violation of plaintiffs' trademark rights or any recording agreement by presenting future "anniversaries or other promotional live performances" of works to which it holds copyright. Id. at 8. Rather, the Court stated that use of the "Pharcyde" mark in the context of the album title "Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde" constitutes a fair use of that mark. Id. at 8 (citing Minutes 10 n.5). Defendants seek a clarification of the language of the Order that addresses this contradiction, and attach a proposed modified preliminary injunction order that, in their view, corrects any contradictions or ambiguities. Crump Decl. Ex. E.

In response, plaintiffs argue that the preliminary injunction is "abundantly clear, " and needs no clarification. Opp. Mot. Clarification 4. According to plaintiffs, defendants are seeking this clarification in order to secure for themselves the "right, in perpetuity, to utilize [plaintiffs'] intellectual property and publicity rights." Id. at 5. Plaintiffs argue that DVI's rights to plaintiffs' intellectual ...


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