Music

News & Analysis as of

$58 Million Antitrust Settlement Approved for Performing Rights Organization Accused of Monopolization

A nationwide class of local television broadcasters recently celebrated when a federal judge approved a settlement agreement in its antitrust lawsuit against one of the three U.S. performance rights organizations (PROs). In...more

Katy Perry Faces Choppy Waters: Left Shark Trademark Refused!

Katy Perry runs into trademark trouble in her attempt to register a “Left shark” design mark. Here’s what happened and what you can do to avoid a similar fate. To the merriment of Left Shark fans everywhere, Katy Perry...more

Taylor Swift Takes Another Step Towards Building Her Empire By Trademarking Her “Swifty” Phrases

From her signature red lips to her retro-chic fashion ensembles, Taylor Swift has carefully crafted and maintained her brand.  Now the 25-year-old musical sensation has taken the next steps toward building her empire....more

Music Artists take Charge - The Fair Play Fair Pay Act

On April 13th, four Congressional members introduced the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act of 2015 (FPFPA), which requires traditional radio stations to pay song writers and performers royalties – just as their internet and satellite...more

Balancing the Budget …and Balancing Copyright

The Government of Canada’s Budget Plan for 2015 proposes various measures within the expected areas of tax relief, job creation and economic growth measures.  It also includes a very unexpected proposal to extend the...more

Parody Or Rip Off?: Don Henley Won’t Take It Easy

Former Eagles drummer and co-lead singer Don Henley has just agreed to settle a lawsuit that he filed against Duluth Trading Co., the clothing retailer best known for its goofy cartoon ads on television. ...more

Copyright Co-Owner’s Ability to Grant an Exclusive Right to a Third Party - Corbello v. DeVito

Revisiting the issue of a copyright co-owner’s right to grant an exclusive right to a third party, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified its prior ruling in Sybersound v. UAV, and explained that a...more

Bob Marley’s Heirs Lanham Act Win Upheld - Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.

Addressing the issue of when the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitutes a false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Jury Sees a Clear Line – Pharrell, Thicke Crossed It

Pharrell Williams, famous for singing about how “Happy” he is, might be changing his tune these days. On March 10, a federal jury found him and fellow pop star Robin Thicke liable for copying Marvin Gaye’s popular song “Got...more

Slep-Tone and Karaoke Redux: Under Dastar, Bar Must Face the Music For Trademark Infringement

The Northern District of Illinois recently held that the Supreme Court’s decision in Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 539 U.S. 23 (2003), did not protect a karaoke bar from claims of trademark infringement...more

TufAmerica v. Diamond - USDC, S.D. New York, March 24, 2015

TufAmerica v. Diamond - USDC, S.D. New York, March 24, 2015 - District court awards summary judgment to defendants, members of the Beastie Boys, holding that plaintiff did not have standing to file suit for...more

Blurred Rights

You may, like me and hundreds of others, have had the “Blurred Lines” verses: “I know you want it, You’re a good girl, You’re far from plastic, Talk about getting blasted, I hate these blurred lines,” stuck in your head. And,...more

Recent Developments in Copyright: Blurred Reasoning and I Won't Back Down Until You Stay with Me

The jury's March 10th verdict in the "Blurred Lines" case has understandably generated a significant amount of interest and attention from the public, and has also led to differing opinions from legal experts as to whether...more

California Jury Finds “Blurred Lines” Infringed “Got to Give It Up”: Society’s Mixed Signals on Copying and Intellectual Property...

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, a California federal jury returned a verdict finding that Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” when writing Thicke’s 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines.”...more

“Blurred Lines” but Clear Verdict: Jury Awards Gaye Estate $7.3 Million in Damages for Copyright Infringement

In a verdict on March 10, a Los Angeles federal jury decided “Blurred Lines,” written by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, substantially borrowed from Marvin Gaye’s 1977 classic “Got To Give It Up” without permission. As a...more

The Lines Just Got Blurrier for Musicians

I have previously discussed the Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams copyright dispute over the song “Blurred Lines”. Earlier this week, matters got considerably worse for the funk duo: a jury found that “Blurred...more

The Blurred Lines of an Infringement Action

Many of you may be familiar with the pop hit “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, Clifford Harris, more popularly known as T.I., and Pharrell Williams (the “Composers”). If it does not sound familiar by title, perhaps you may...more

New York Court Gives Final Approval to $58.5 Million Music Licensing Settlement

On February 19, 2015, the District Court for the Southern District of New York issued final approval of a $58.5 million settlement between performing rights society SESAC (Society of European Stage Actors and Composers) and...more

Are You Ready to "Party Like It's 1989"? Be Sure to Get Taylor Swift's Permission First

Famous country-music-turned-pop-star Taylor Swift made headlines recently when she filed a slew of trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for various lyrics from her latest album, entitled...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Can Taylor Swift Shake Off Accusations of Trademark Greed?

Had enough of Taylor Swift yet? For those of you who hate to love her, you might consider Swiftamine, because she is not going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, her media foot print continues to grow. And while one...more

Copy or Coincidence? You Be the Judge

Sam Smith, the 22 year old British singing sensation, swept the Grammy Awards Sunday night, winning best new artist, record of the year, best vocal album, and song of the year. With four acceptance speeches Sam had ample...more

(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Enforce Your Copyrights!)

The Beastie Boys can look back on 2014 as a year of good copyright outcomes. The preceding years had seen their music used without authorization in two promotional videos, by Goldieblox and Monster Energy, despite the...more

Monster Learns Beastly Lesson

Last summer, the Beastie Boys won a $1.7 million judgment against Monster Energy Drink for the unauthorized use of their music in a promotional video. The judgment included statutory damages and penalties, and I thought was a...more

Status Updates - January 2015 #4

Social drinkers. The founder of the Lagunitas Brewing Company decided to drop a lawsuit that he’d filed against Sierra Nevada for trademark infringement after beer drinkers expressed their disapproval of the suit on Twitter. ...more

The New Private Copying Exception: The UK Music Industry Wants to be Paid for It

Three UK music industry organisations, the Musician’s Union, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and UK Music, have recently launched a legal action seeking leave to apply for judicial review of the...more

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