News & Analysis as of

Music Copyright

“Haters Gonna Hate, Hate . . . .”  Can Taylor Swift “Shake it Off”?

by Brooks Pierce on

On September 18, 2017, songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler filed a lawsuit against Taylor Swift in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Hall and Butler are the co-authors of the 2000...more

“Uptown Funk” Facing Copyright Allegation by 80s Funk Band

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

Same song, different lawsuit. Music producer Mark Ronson is battling another lawsuit over his hit single, “Uptown Funk,” this time, accusing him of using elements of Zapp & Roger’s (“Zapp”) 1980 funk track, “More Bounce to...more

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

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

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

“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

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

The Right Rights For Your Broadway Jukebox

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

The Jukebox musical is alive and well and living on Broadway. From the songs of Gloria Estefan to Carole King, from Frankie Valli to Abba, we are amidst a 20-year old trend to present pop music’s biggest hits on the live...more

Media Law Bulletin: To Sample or Not to Sample?

by Sedgwick LLP on

Conflict is brewing among the United States Courts of Appeals as to when a musical artist’s use of a sample from another artist’s musical work is non-infringing. Three key opinions analyzing this issue were decided by the...more

Spotify settles mechanical rights spat for $43.5M

Spotify will pay up to $43.5 million to end a lawsuit filed by a class of song owners who claimed the music streaming giant failed to pay the mechanical rights for songs offered through its service....more

Best Practices for Using Third-Party Content on Your Company’s Website

Does your company’s website include or link to third-party content? If so, there are potential legal issues that may arise under copyright law and website terms of use that can be minimized or avoided by implementing some...more

Music Performing Rights Organizations and the “Full-Work” vs. “Fractional” Licensing Dispute: Government Seeks to Overturn...

by Brooks Pierce on

On Thursday, the United States filed its brief (link is external)in its appeal of a decision by the district court for the Southern District of New York (link is external), which rejected the US Department of Justice’s...more

Paul McCartney chants 'Get Back' again – The Future of Copyright Termination

by Hogan Lovells on

The US Copyright Act of 1976 allows artists, writers, and musicians to “get back” grants of copyrights that had been previously licensed or assigned away. Specifically, artists can “terminate” their copyright arrangements...more

NY Common Law Does Not Provide Creators With Control Over Public Performances of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

On December 20, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) issued a landmark state copyright law decision, holding in response to a certified question from the Second Circuit in Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius...more

DJ Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars Get “Funked” With New Copyright Suit Over “Uptown Funk”

On Friday, October 28, 2016, musicians Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars were hit with a copyright infringement suit based on their wildly popular hit “Uptown Funk.” The plaintiffs, consisting of one living member and the estates...more

Absent Nexus, Radio Station Play and Intermediaries Are Insufficient to Prove Access **WEB ONLY**

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing the standard for proving “access” to a copyrighted work, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment due to a lack of admissible evidence showing sufficient...more

Iron Man Composer Battles Tech Giant Sony and Ghostface Killah

by McDermott Will & Emery on

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of the composer of the 1960s Iron Man theme song, finding material facts in dispute as to whether the song was commissioned as a work for hire. Jack Urbont v. Sony...more

3D Printing: What it Means To Manufacturers Who Want To Sell Replacement Parts in a Digital Ecosystem

by Benesch on

Among the next generation of 3D printing patents that will soon expire are key patents for metal-based printing processes. The patents’ expiration will almost certainly result in significant price reductions for 3D printers...more

Led Zeppelin Prevails in Copyright Infringement Case: Now on Appeal in Ninth Circuit

by Wilson Elser on

In May 2014, the Trust acting on behalf of the estate of Randy Wolfe (a/k/a Randy California) of the rock group Spirit filed a copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin related to the first chords in the band’s most...more

Second Circuit Revives Copyright Claims Against Sony and Ghostface Killah

In Urbont v. Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 15-1778, the Second Circuit recently revived claims against Sony and Ghostface Killah, holding that although third parties may raise a work for hire defense, here there were factual...more

Political campaigns face copyright and robocall liabilities

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Though it seems to come as a surprise to many of them, politicians — even presidential candidates — have to live with the same intellectual property and communications laws that bedevil the rest of us....more

Led Zeppelin Legends Smack Down “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Suit

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

This morning in a Los Angeles federal court, a unanimous jury exonerated British rockers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant—two members of the storied Led Zeppelin rock band—from claims of copyright infringement over the iconic...more

Jury Hands Zeppelin a Heavenly Victory

In Robert Plant’s world, all that glitters is not gold, and all that sounds like another artist’s work is not stolen from that artist. Fortunately for Plant and his Led Zeppelin bandmates, a Los Angeles jury agreed. That jury...more

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