News & Analysis as of

Music Industry

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

Not-So-Golden Oldies - Florida’s Top Court Denies Turtles' pre-1972 Copyright Claim

In a unanimous October 26, 2017, decision, the Supreme Court of Florida concluded that Florida common law does not recognize an exclusive right of public performance in pre-1972 sound recordings. Thus, members of the band,...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

9th Circuit debates “Blurred Lines” verdict

Bill Hochberg was quoted in a Daily Journal article about the “Blurred Lines” case currently on appeal before the 9th Circuit. At the hearing held October 6th, the three judges appeared to be skeptical about overturning the...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

Some Essential Facts About Music Performance Rights Organizations

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

1. Registration of a song with a PRO does not provide any copyright protection.- The most common misunderstanding I encounter from songwriters is that registering their songs with one of the U.S. music performance rights...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

When are prices "excessive": did the Latvian competition authority strike the right note?

by Dentons on

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has just ruled that competition regulators have a "certain margin for manoeuvre" in deciding whether prices are excessive, and that there is no single adequate method for such an...more

Commercial Division Reprimands Lawyer for Misconduct in Deposition

On August 25, 2017, Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich of the New York Commercial Division entered an order reprimanding a high-profile lawyer, Mark Geragos, for misconduct during a deposition, including refusing to answer...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

Former Band Member Sues The Roots

by Brooks Pierce on

Frank “Knuckles” Walker, a musician and percussionist best known as a former member of the band The Roots, recently filed a lawsuit against his former band members and others. A copy of the complaint is available here....more

In Matal V. Tam, Scotus Rules Prohibition On Disparaging Trademarks Unconstitutional

The Asian American members of the band the Slants adopted that name to “reclaim” and “take ownership” of the derogatory term. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) refused to register a trademark application...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

Key SCOTUS Decisions in Tech – First Half 2017

by Fenwick & West LLP on

Despite being short one justice for much of the year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down multiple significant decisions this past term that can unsettle long-standing legal understandings in multiple technology fields. These...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

China launches its annual piracy crackdown campaign: focus on online piracy of films and TV programs

by Hogan Lovells on

China’s State Intellectual Property Office has recently announced, in a joint declaration with three other ministerial bodies, the launch of its annual online piracy crackdown campaign called the “Red Shield Net Sword...more

Settling the Hawkwind Trademark Flap

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing an opposition to the trademark registration of a band name, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) found the opposer—the originator and continuous user of the name—to be the owner and prior user. Dave Brock v....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

Bob Gaudio Tells Spotify To Walk Like A Man

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, was sued last week for over $366 million by two music publishers, Bluewater Music Services in Nashville and a group of companies affiliated with Bob Gaudio, the...more

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