Music Copyright

News & Analysis as of

Manatt Digital Media - August 2015

So You Want Music in Your Video: 5 Things to Remember so You Don't Get Sued - Last month we received a call from a woman who made an unassuming video of her daughter's wedding and added her favorite song as the musical...more

It’s Illegal to Sing Happy Birthday?

Some years ago, Aaron Sorkin (bar none the greatest television writer of all time) spent a few minutes of an episode of Sports Night making light of the fact that the song “Happy Birthday” is outside the public domain....more

ROYAL PAIN: Brits Can’t Even Copy Their OWN Music

This blawg focuses on US law as it pertains to technology and entertainment, but a recent decision of the High Court of the United Kingdom just caught my interest. The High Court of the United Kingdom held that certain...more

Private Copying Exception – Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

The High Court has quashed the Personal Copies for Private Use Regulations (the Regulations)2 which amended the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the Act) to introduce section 28B, with prospective effect. This follows...more

Jay Z Awarded Attorneys’ Fees After Routing Plaintiff In Copyright Lawsuit: Now Plaintiff Has $253,409.99 Problems For Bringing...

On July 17, 2015, Judge Schofield sitting in the Southern District of New York awarded defendants Shawn Carter (a/k/a Jay Z), Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation, LLC (collectively, “Roc-A-Fella”) $253,409.99 in attorneys’...more

Pre-1972 Recording Rulings – Not as Happy Together or as a Settlement

This week, after a string of wins, two members of the classic rock group the Turtles suffered a setback in their lawsuit against satellite radio provider, SiriusXM (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc.)....more

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update

Garcia v. Google: “Doubtful” Copyright Ownership Claim in Film Performance Does Not Outweigh First Amendment Right to Free Speech - Why it matters: In a closely watched case that tests the limits of copyright protection,...more

Copeland v. Bieber - USCA Fourth Circuit, June 18, 2015

Fourth Circuit vacates district court dismissal of copyright infringement claim against defendants Usher and Justin Bieber, finding that choruses in songs were sufficiently similar to withstand motion to dismiss, as...more

The Complexities of Canada’s Extension of Copyright Protection for Sound Recordings

On June 23, 2015, Royal Assent was given to Parliament’s Bill C-59, otherwise known as the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, otherwise known as the federal government’s 2015 budget. Contained in the legislation are...more

State Law Claims Suffer “Awfully Big Adventure”: New York Court Finds Federal Copyright Preemption in Dispute over Peter Pan...

On June 8, 2015, the New York County Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice eight of twelve state law claims brought by a producer seeking damages for the purportedly unauthorized use of his music in a world-wide production...more

Trump Goes A Rockin’: Neil Young Comes A Knockin’

Donald Trump, the New York real estate mogul and self-proclaimed business genius, just kicked off his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination at Trump Tower in Manhattan to the tune of Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The...more

Why the Battle over Artists’ Termination Rights in Sound Recording Copyright Transfers Hasn’t Happened (and Probably Won’t)

January 1, 2013 was a date long-feared by the recording industry. It marked the 35-year anniversary of the effective date of the Copyright Act of 1976, which grants authors of works an absolute right to terminate a transfer...more

Ultramercial v. WildTangent -- Petition for Writ of Certiorari

The Ultramercial story is not over. In the latest step of a controversial case involving 35 U.S.C. § 101 that has been ongoing since 2009, patentee Ultramercial has petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The...more

“Blurred Lines” Artists Lose Multi-million Dollar Copyright Lawsuit

Pop artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ “Blurred Lines” song was the most popular single in 2013, topping the U.S. and international music charts. The song has sold over 6 million copies and its accompanying video has...more

BMI Wins Summary Judgment of Copyright Infringement After Restaurant Owner Fails to Respond to Requests for Admission

Plaintiff Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), a music rights management organization that offers licenses to a massive catalogue of popular songs on behalf of copyright owners, brought suit for copyright infringement against the...more

Mayimba Music, Inc. v. Sony Corporation of America - USDC, S.D.N.Y., April 30, 2015

District court suspends previous finding that pop star Shakira's song “Loca” infringed Dominican songwriter’s copyright, in light of newly discovered evidence that plaintiff fabricated evidence and committed perjury....more

[Event] Digital Media Update 2015 -May 7, Santa Monica, CA

Please join Sheppard Mullin and Bird & Bird attorneys for cocktails and a discussion about the latest legal updates in digital media. Topics covered will include: - Net neutrality impact on digital media...more

Fuzzy Jury Instructions Affected 'Blurred Lines'

When Robin Thicke, Clifford “T.I.” Harris and Pharrell Williams released “Blurred Lines,” it not only became the longest-running No 1 single of 2013, but also caught the attention of the Estate of Marvin Gaye who felt the...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

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

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