News & Analysis as of

Music

Florida Supreme Court Denies Copyright Protection for Sound Recordings Predating Coverage Under the Federal Copyright Act

by Reed Smith on

In a major victory for media and broadcast entities, the Supreme Court of Florida recently established that Florida law does not recognize exclusive copyright protections for sound recordings that were “fixed” before February...more

Florida Now Follows New York to Find No Common Law Public Performance Right For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

A few months ago, we brought to your attention a case initiated by The Turtles, seeking royalties in New York for the unauthorized performance of their pre-1972 sound recordings. In that decision, the Court of Appeals of New...more

The Southern District of New York Finds “Work Made For Hire” Under Italian Copyright Law

Musical scores incorporated into films are usually produced with the specific film in mind. In the U.S., we call such works “works made for hire,” meaning that the artist does not retain authorship rights to the music....more

“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

Rules Proposed for Claiming Georgia Musical Tax Credits

by Taylor English Duma LLP on

Rules Proposed for Claiming Georgia Musical Tax Credits - On October 5, 2017, the Georgia Department of Revenue proposed rules for implementing O.C.G.A. § 48-7-40.33, entitled the Georgia Musical Investment Act (“the...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

Coachella Sues “Filmchella” for Trademark Infringement

by Reed Smith on

Coachella Music Festival LLC, the organization behind the popular desert-based Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit earlier this month against the organizers of “Filmchella” arguing...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 Databases? The Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act and ASCAP/BMI

by Brooks Pierce on

On July 20, US Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act. The legislation would create a database of music copyright ownership and licensing information. ...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

by Womble Bond Dickinson on

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

Manatt Digital - April 2017

We at Manatt Digital are not only die hard music fans, we put our passions in our business and are invested and advocates of the ever evolving and seriously complicated business of music. This month’s newsletter is dedicated...more

Michael Jackson Estate Tax Case Moving Forward

by Charles (Chuck) Rubin on

Most estate tax practitioners will tell you estate tax it is all about valuation when assets are other than cash and marketable securities. The estate tax case of the Michael Jackson estate is an ideal demonstration. Tax...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

The Power of the Melody Pushes Fashion Forward

by Goulston & Storrs PC on

The many genres of music – particularly, rock, pop, hip-hop and country – have always pushed the needle forward in fashion. Musical icons from today and yesteryear have given a voice to fashion by creating a kinetic...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

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