Music Copyright

News & Analysis as of

Johnson v. UMG Recordings, Inc. - USCA, Seventh Circuit, October 31, 2016

Seventh Circuit holds musician Syl Johnson cannot bring copyright infringement claims based on alleged sampling of his 1967 song “Different Strokes” after settling similar action in 2015 and failing to reopen original...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**

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

EMI Christian Music Group, Inc. v. MP3tunes, LLC - USCA, Second Circuit, October 25, 2016

Following $48 million jury verdict in music companies’ long-running copyright action against online service MP3tunes, Second Circuit vacates district court’s pretrial ruling that MP3tunes was eligible for DMCA safe harbor...more

Iron Man Composer Battles Tech Giant Sony and Ghostface Killah

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

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

Loomis v. Cornish - USCA, Ninth Circuit, September 2, 2016

Ninth Circuit affirms ruling in favor of Jessie J in a copyright dispute, finding plaintiff Will Loomis failed to establish the recording artist or songwriters of the hit song “Domino” had requisite access to his song “Bright...more

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

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

Bowen v. Paisley - USDC, M.D. Tennessee, August 25, 2016

District court grants summary judgment dismissing copyright infringement suit against country music stars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and others involved in producing the 2011 hit song “Remind Me,” holding that it was...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

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

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

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

Second Circuit Reinforces the Scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s Safe Harbor Provision

In Capitol Records LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, the Second Circuit issued a decision clarifying the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (“DMCA”) safe harbor provision, which protects certain Internet service providers from liability for...more

Sheeren-nuff: Another Copyright Infringement Suit

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

VMG Salsoul LLC v. Ciccone - USCA, Ninth Circuit, June 2, 2016

Ninth Circuit breaks from Sixth Circuit in music copyright infringement case over a 0.23-second horn segment in Madonna’s pop hit “Vogue,” holding that de minimis copying exception applies to copyrighted sound...more

ABS Entertainment Inc. v. CBS Corp.- USDC, C.D. California, May 30, 2016

CBS defeats claims that it infringed copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings by performing recordings on radio broadcasts, successfully arguing that it performed only post-1972 remastered versions of recordings and that those...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

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

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

“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

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

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

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