US: Will you be “Sorry for Party Rocking” if you are liable for copyright infringement?

by DLA Piper
Contact

[co-author: Jennifer Griffin]

William L. Roberts II, aka hip-hop rapper Rick Ross, singer of 2006 number 1?Hustlin’” filed a claim for copyright infringement in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against brothers Stefan Kendal and Skyler Austen Gordy, who form the group LMFAO, for their hit single “Party Rock Anthem” from their album “Sorry for Party Rockin’”, on 31 December 2013. 

Ross asserts that the “very popular and highly recognisable” hook phrase “everyday I’m hustlin’” in Ross’ hit prominently featured at key points in “Party Rock Anthem”. He asserts that, despite the slight change of the wording to “everyday I’m shufflin’”, the phrase is performed in a manner to sound like “everyday I’m hustlin’” to capitalise on the fame and success of “Hustlin’”. He alleges that this constitutes the creation of an unauthorised derivative work.  He also claims that the Defendants were wholly influenced by hip hop and rap music, and were almost certainly exposed to such a high selling single (over 5,600,000 copies of “Hustlin’” were sold).  According to the complaint, “Party Rock Anthem” has sold 9.7 million copies and been licensed repeatedly by LMFAO, appearing in films, television shows and advertisements.

The cause of action under US law is a copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C.106 (2), unauthorised preparation of derivative work based on the copyrighted work.  To prove such an infringement of the rights, ownership of copyright and unauthorised copying of protected elements by the Defendant constituting unlawful appropriation must be proven.  Unauthorised copying can either be a direct and obvious copy of the original, or that the two works are substantially similar.  In order to ascertain whether the works are substantially similar there needs to be articulable similarities, and an ordinary audience member would find the two works in their entirety substantially similar. Further it needs to be proven that the alleged infringer has had exposure to and has been influenced by the original work.

Ross is claiming maximum statutory damages under 17 U.S.C.504 (c) or to recover actual damages and profits attributable to infringement under 17 U.S.C.504 (b).Ross is also seeking an injunction restraining further use of the music. 

It remains to be seen how the Defendants will respond.  Incidentally, Ross has recently won a case with former drug dealer, Ricky Ross, who had claimed Rick Ross appropriated his name and likeness.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© DLA Piper | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

DLA Piper
Contact
more
less

DLA Piper on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.