News & Analysis as of

Music Industry

Mark Ronson Sued For Infringing 80’s Funk “Masterpiece”

by Brooks Pierce on

On September 12, 2017, the publisher of the legendary song “More Bounce to the Ounce” filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against music producer Mark Ronson. The suit alleges that Ronson’s hit song “Uptown Funk,” which has...more

When are prices "excessive": did the Latvian competition authority strike the right note?

by Dentons on

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has just ruled that competition regulators have a "certain margin for manoeuvre" in deciding whether prices are excessive, and that there is no single adequate method for such an...more

Commercial Division Reprimands Lawyer for Misconduct in Deposition

On August 25, 2017, Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich of the New York Commercial Division entered an order reprimanding a high-profile lawyer, Mark Geragos, for misconduct during a deposition, including refusing to answer...more

The Broad Umbrella Covering Joint Authors Also Protects Collaborators

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

A recent decision from the federal court of the Southern District of New York serves as a reminder of the broad rights enjoyed by a joint author under the Copyright Act, including the right to create and license derivative...more

Former Band Member Sues The Roots

by Brooks Pierce on

Frank “Knuckles” Walker, a musician and percussionist best known as a former member of the band The Roots, recently filed a lawsuit against his former band members and others. A copy of the complaint is available here....more

In Matal V. Tam, Scotus Rules Prohibition On Disparaging Trademarks Unconstitutional

The Asian American members of the band the Slants adopted that name to “reclaim” and “take ownership” of the derogatory term. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) refused to register a trademark application...more

Bringing Back the Oldies – Legislation for Equal Treatment in the Music Industry

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

On July 19, 2017, the CLASSICS Act (H.R. 3301 – Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act) was introduced into the House, the purpose of which is to provide copyright...more

Court Rejects Infringement Claim Against Alan Jackson

by Brooks Pierce on

On October 27, 2016, North Carolina songwriter Timothy Arnett sued the legendary country star Alan Jackson in the Eastern District of North Carolina for alleged copyright infringement. Arnett claimed that Jackson’s song...more

Key SCOTUS Decisions in Tech – First Half 2017

by Fenwick & West LLP on

Despite being short one justice for much of the year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down multiple significant decisions this past term that can unsettle long-standing legal understandings in multiple technology fields. These...more

“Thinking Out Loud” About Copyright Infringement (Again)

by Brooks Pierce on

Ed Sheeran has had plenty of court troubles recently. After reportedly reaching a settlement over his song “Photograph” earlier this year, he was recently sued (a second time) for his song “Thinking Out Loud.”...more

China launches its annual piracy crackdown campaign: focus on online piracy of films and TV programs

by Hogan Lovells on

China’s State Intellectual Property Office has recently announced, in a joint declaration with three other ministerial bodies, the launch of its annual online piracy crackdown campaign called the “Red Shield Net Sword...more

Settling the Hawkwind Trademark Flap

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing an opposition to the trademark registration of a band name, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) found the opposer—the originator and continuous user of the name—to be the owner and prior user. Dave Brock v....more

Music Licensing Databases? The Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act and ASCAP/BMI

by Brooks Pierce on

On July 20, US Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act. The legislation would create a database of music copyright ownership and licensing information. ...more

Music Licensing Basics: How to Legally Use Someone’s Music in Your Business

by Knobbe Martens on

Introduction - •Music copyrights: –Musical works – sheet music and lyrics •Author is generally composer/lyricist and controls •Can be administered through a music publisher - Please see full Presentation below...more

Did U2’s Bono And The Edge Copy Their Song The Fly From Another Artist?

This is the question being presented in a lawsuit pending in the Southern District of New York against the iconic band U2 and a majority of its band mates. Paul David Hewson (more well known as lead singer Bono), David...more

Bob Gaudio Tells Spotify To Walk Like A Man

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, was sued last week for over $366 million by two music publishers, Bluewater Music Services in Nashville and a group of companies affiliated with Bob Gaudio, the...more

U2 Seeks Dismissal of “The Fly” Infringement Suit

by Brooks Pierce on

Earlier this year, a songwriter sued the members of U2, claiming that the U2 song, “The Fly” from the 1991 album “Achtung Baby,” infringed the songwriter’s 1989 song “Nae Slappin.” The plaintiff songwriter, Paul Rose,...more

The First Amendment Protects The Trademark Registrability Of THE SLANTS And THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS Irrespective Of Political...

by Weintraub Tobin on

In 2014, the Washington Redskins lost a battle before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) where the petitioner, a group of Native American activists, sought cancellation of the “Washington Redskins” trademark, which...more

Three Questions from the Supreme Court’s Decision on “Offensive” Trademarks

by Dickinson Wright on

Last week the Supreme Court ruled that the Trademark Office may not refuse federal registration to a trademark merely because the mark is “disparaging.” The decision has attracted a lot of media attention, much of it...more

DMCA Grandfather Clause Does Not Extend to Acquired Business

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) grandfather clause that allows “pre-existing subscription services” to pay the pre-1998 reduced royalty rate for digital music licensing, the US Court of Appeals for the...more

Band Trademark Can Rock On: Lanham Act Disparagement Clause Unconstitutional

by McDermott Will & Emery on

In an 8–0 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed an en banc panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and found the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act to be facially unconstitutional...more

Supreme Court Rules Trademarks are Protected by First Amendment's Free Speech Clause

by Best Best & Krieger LLP on

Trademarks do not constitute government speech, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled. Instead, trademarks qualify as speech protected by the First Amendment Free Speech Clause. As a result, the government cannot reject a...more

Offensive Trademarks Are Protected Free Speech Under The First Amendment

by Weintraub Tobin on

Simon Tam is the lead singer of the rock group call “The Slants’, which is composed of Asian-Americans. Tam applied for federal trademark registration of the band’s name. While the term “slants” is a derogatory term for...more

Matal v. Tam: Supreme Court Rules USPTO Prohibition of Offensive Marks Based On Disparagement Clause Is Unconstitutional Under...

Historically, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has refused to register trademarks considered to be offensive in that they disparaged a particular person, group or institution. Now the PTO cannot deny the...more

Can’t Say “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” for Copying Me

by Knobbe Martens on

On June 1, 2017, noted music and fashion photographer Danny Clinch filed suit in the Southern District of New York in connection with the use of two photographs of famed rapper Tupac Shukar (“Tupac”) on t-shirts. The...more

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