Music Copyright

News & Analysis as of

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

Gilkyson v Disney Enterprises, Inc. - Calif. Appeal Court, 2nd App. District, Div. 7, January 27, 2016

Appellate court finds that claim for breach of contract for contractual royalties brought against Disney by heirs of Terry Gilkyson, songwriter for “The Jungle Book” film, are not time-barred, based on application of...more

Simmons v. Stanberry - USCA, Second Circuit, January 15, 2016

Second Circuit affirms dismissal of infringement suit over hip-hop beat in 50 Cent song "I Get Money" after holding plaintiff's claim constituted dispute over ownership of copyright that was time-barred by Copyright Act's...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

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

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