Everyone in Florida’s arts and entertainment industry knows someone who is oddly protective of his or her art – whether it’s a guitarist who worries that everyone else is going to steal his licks, a painter who claims to have a proprietary formula for a special shade of blue or some other character. But there are smart ways to protect one’s rights and ways that just don’t work.

A federal appeals court recently affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit in which a singing telegram entertainer claimed that audience members had infringed her copyrights by taking photographs and videos of her performance. The entertainer, who performed at a credit union trade show while dressed in a banana suit, filed suit against the organizers of the event, claiming that audience members had photographed and filmed her performance without her permission.

In upholding the dismissal, the court noted that the plaintiff, who represented herself, had failed to put forward any actionable claims. While it noted that someone in her position could potentially make a claim for unauthorized recording of music or public display rights, she had not made such claims. She had also failed to register copyrights on applicable aspects of her performance.

The court chided the performer for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

This case is unusual in many respects, but it does help illustrate something that’s important to everyone in the entertainment industry: It’s important to choose one’s battles wisely and to pursue legal action effectively. Florida attorneys with experience in entertainment law can help their clients to understand their rights and to build effective strategies for protecting their business interests.

Source: Bloomberg BNA, “Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Banana Lady’s Copyright Infringement Suit,” Tamlin H. Bason, April 16, 2014