News & Analysis as of

Music Copyright

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

Whole Lotta Love for Zeppelin in Jury Verdict On Stairway Copyright Trial

by Cole Schotz on

After less than a day of deliberation, a California jury has found the members of the legendary group Led Zeppelin (and their record label) did not copy the famous opening riff of Stairway to Heaven from an earlier song by...more

Sheeren-nuff: Another Copyright Infringement Suit

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

English pop musician Ed Sheeran has been sued for copyright infringement in the Central District of California over his recent hit song “Photograph,” which peaked at number ten on Billboard’s “The Hot 100” chart. The two...more

Ninth Circuit “Strikes A Pose” For Madonna And Music Sampling In “Vogue” Copyright Dispute

In a copyright decision that rocks the music industry and splits from the Sixth Circuit, the Ninth Circuit recently held that Madonna’s mega-hit “Vogue” did not violate copyright rights by sampling a 0.23-second horns segment...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Current Status of Music Sampling Copyright Infringement And Sets Circuit Split For The Supreme Court

by Weintraub Tobin on

On June 2, 2016 the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in a music sampling Copyright infringement case that sets up a split between the Ninth Circuit and the Sixth Circuit which will likely send the issue to the Supreme Court. ...more

Sixth Circuit Rules in Favor of Songwriter’s Heirs in Copyright Termination Decision in Jackson Brumley et al. v. Albert Brumley &...

In its May 16, 2016 decision in Jackson Brumley et al. v. Albert Brumley & Sons Inc. et al., the Sixth Circuit expressed skepticism of the Second Circuit’s and Ninth Circuit’s interpretation of the 304(c) termination...more

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

by BakerHostetler on

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

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

by Dentons on

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

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

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

by Butler Snow LLP on

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

by Dentons on

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

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. on

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

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