Music

News & Analysis as of

Brumley v. Albert E. Brumley & Sons Inc. - USCA, Sixth Circuit, May 16, 2016

Sixth Circuit concludes that author’s 1975 assignment of gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” was subject to 2008 termination notice, notwithstanding subsequent 1979 assignment of rights by late composer’s wife....more

“Happy Birthday” Lawyers Look to “Overcome” Another Copyright

Moving from the celebratory to the spiritual, the lawyers who (literally) brought you “Happy Birthday” once again find themselves looking to overcome entrenched copyright interests related to one of the country’s most...more

Did Led Zeppelin Steal the Stairway to Heaven?

Did Led Zeppelin copy the opening of its iconic song “Stairway to Heaven” from a lesser-known band? A jury in California will decide in May whether the song copied elements of “Taurus,” a 1967 instrumental track from the...more

“And if You Listen Very Hard” . . . Zeppelin Going to [Trial in] California

Central District of California Judge Gary Klausner ruled the founders of rock band Led Zeppelin – and more particularly, front men Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – must face a jury trial to determine whether the band’s most...more

A Rube Goldberg Car-Music Making Thingy

As some of you know I’m a fan of Rube Goldberg Machines – those silly, over-engineered contraptions which make simple tasks overly-complicated....more

Interesting court decisions in 2015 in the fields of IP, IT and mass communications: Dentons' takeaway - The consideration in 2015...

Among the many interesting court decisions adopted in 2015 in the areas of intellectual property rights, information technologies and mass media regulation, we have selected the top ten we view as the most notable. Presented...more

Second Circuit Tosses Out Time-Barred Copyright Claims Against Jay Z

Last month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a New York judge’s decision to dismiss federal copyright and state tort law claims alleged against the hip-hop icon, Jay Z, and his affiliated companies. Mahan v. ROC...more

Happy Birthday to All [Reprise]

Update on the Happy Birthday Case - Back in October, we discussed some of the implications of the Happy Birthday lawsuit, and now it appears that we have finally reached a coda for the two-year legal battle. On December...more

Gilkyson v Disney Enterprises, Inc. - Calif. Appeal Court, 2nd App. District, Div. 7, January 27, 2016

Appellate court finds that claim for breach of contract for contractual royalties brought against Disney by heirs of Terry Gilkyson, songwriter for “The Jungle Book” film, are not time-barred, based on application of...more

Copyright Case Against Famed Hip Hop Artist “50 Cent” Isn’t Worth Two Bits

In the summer of 2007, hip-hop artist Curtis Jackson—who performs under the stage name “50 Cent”—rapped his way to fame and riches with the smash hit “I Get Money.” After 50 Cent made a mint on this work (he sold more than 2...more

Simmons v. Stanberry - USCA, Second Circuit, January 15, 2016

Second Circuit affirms dismissal of infringement suit over hip-hop beat in 50 Cent song "I Get Money" after holding plaintiff's claim constituted dispute over ownership of copyright that was time-barred by Copyright Act's...more

Don’t Get On the Wrong Side of Taylor Swift in a Copyright Case!

Taylor Swift has been in the news a lot over the last year or so. She is phenomenally successful. Her hit album “1989” concert tour was the highest grossing tour in the world in 2015 (over $250 million) and the highest...more

Did the Federal Circuit Just Save the Redskins’ trademark registrations?

Yesterday the Federal Circuit issued its decision in In re Tam, an appeal filed by a musician whose application to register the mark THE SLANTS had been refused registration on the ground that it was disparaging to Asian...more

Have Yourself a Merry 12 Days of SWIFTMAS

Even amid the December hustle and bustle of the holidays, my mind is never very far from trademark and patent issues – especially when getting Christmas songs stuck in my head while shopping for friends and family. I’m prone...more

Happy Birthday To You: Blow the Candles Out

On two previous occasions, I wrote about the court battle and decision regarding the copyright status of the lyrics to the song, Happy Birthday to You. As noted in my September 2015 post, the U.S. District Court in California...more

Spooky Songs Done Wrong: Copyright Consequences for Unlicensed Haunted Houses

It’s that time of year: costumes and candy, haunted houses and hayrides. And all those tricks and treats add up to a $7.4 billion commercial industry around the holiday, a figure that exceeds the annual revenue of the...more

Music rights management in the Digital Single Market

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a technical review consultation on how effectively the draft Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016 (the Draft Regulations) implement EU...more

Is There Hope for the Washington Redskins' Trademarks After All?

We’ve been following the Washington Redskins’ trademark battle pretty closely, writing about it several times already. You may remember that the team had its federal trademark registrations cancelled last summer under Section...more

The Board Lends a Blow to Celebrities

The celebrity known as will.i.am from the musical group the Black Eyed Peas sought to register three marks for “I AM” in connection with cosmetics, cell phones, artificial eyelashes, sunglasses, and brass wrist cuff...more

Unhappy Birthday

About a month ago, the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a summary judgment ruling putting a nail in the coffin of one of the most tragically comical copyright claims of all time. ...more

Happy Birthday to All

On September 22, 2015, a California district court issued an opinion that may change birthday celebrations forever. In Rupa Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., the court held that Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. does not own a...more

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: USPTO Pilot Program on Changing Technology

As you may have heard, the USPTO has commenced a pilot program to allow, under limited circumstances, amendments to identifications of goods/services in trademark registrations to account for evolving technology. Amendments...more

Intellectual Property: Happy Birthday to You (10/15)

If you have ever been to a Chili’s restaurant, odds are you have heard this birthday jingle. Perhaps you have also heard different birthday greetings at other chain restaurants. More likely than not, you have not heard any...more

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US: Court Rules That Happy Birthday to You is In the Public Domain

In a prior blawg post, I wrote about the then-recently filed case of Good Morning To You Productions Corp. v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., in which the issue was whether or not the song, Happy Birthday To You, is still...more

Aretha Franklin Is Looking For A Little Respect From Telluride And Toronto Film Festivals

On September 4, 2015, a long running legal battle over the right to use footage from a 1972 concert by Aretha Franklin took a twist right out of a Hollywood movie when the Queen of Soul sought, and was granted, a temporary...more

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