Music Copyright

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

Alert: Ninth Circuit: Copyright Owners Must Consider Fair Use Defense Before Sending Takedown Notices

On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that parties who send "takedown notices" under the authority of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") must consider whether the subject work constitutes a...more

Before Sending DMCA Takedown Notice, Copyright Owners Face Duty to Consider Fair Use, Says Appeals Court

On September 14, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that copyright owners have a “duty to consider—in good faith and prior to sending a [DMCA] takedown notification—whether allegedly...more

Intellectual Property Alert: DMCA Takedowns Require Consideration of Fair Use

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that copyright holders must at least consider fair use before issuing a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The decision, in Lenz v....more

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

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