December 21, 2011
Veoh Networks (Veoh) operates a publicly accessible website that enables users to share videos with other users. Universal Music Group (UMG) is one of the world’s largest recorded music and music publishing companies, and includes record labels such as Motown, Def Jam and Geffen. In addition to producing and distributing recorded music, UMG produces music videos. Although Veoh has implemented various
procedures to prevent copyright infringement through its system, users of Veoh’s service have in the past been able, without UMG’s authorization, to download videos containing songs for which UMG owns the copyright. UMG responded by filing suit against Veoh for direct and secondary copyrightinfringement. The district court granted summary judgment to Veoh after determining that it was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) “safe harbor” limiting service providers’ liability for “infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider.” 17 U.S.C. § 512(c). The 9th Circuit agreed, and accordingly affirmed.
"We ... hold that merely hosting a category of copyrightable content, such as music videos, with the general knowledge that one’s services could be used to share infringing material, is insufficient to meet the actual knowledge requirement under [the statute]".
December 16, 2011
November 2, 2011
October 26, 2011
October 25, 2011
October 21, 2011
Plaintiff Paul M. Ellington, the heir and grandson of the legendary jazz composer and performer Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, sought to recover foreign music publication royalties allegedly owed to him by defendants pursuant to contract dated December 17, 1961 (the 1961 contract). Ellington also sought to commence a class action against defendants on behalf of a putative class consisting of all persons to whom defendants have failed to pay their full contractual share of foreign publication royalties.
Pursuant to the 1961 contract, the First Parties transferred to the Second Party the copyrights to numerous identified musical compositions written by Duke Ellington between 1927 and the contract date, in exchange for, inter alia, payments of cash and royalties, calculated as a percentage of various sources of income, including income generated from sales outside the United States. The 1961 contract superceded a series of similar agreements between Duke Ellington and Mills Music or certain of its affiliates.
There was no real dispute that the 1961 contract is a "net receipts" songwriter royalty agreement. A "net receipts" agreement, common in the music industry prior to the early 1980s, provides for the payment of royalties to the songwriter on a net receipts basis, or, payment based on the net income received by the United States publisher from foreign subpublishers, who retain a percentage of the foreign income as a fee in payment for their services in exploiting and administering publication of the songs outside the United States.
The Court held that the 1961 Contract was clear and unambiguous. ""The royalty payment provision terms demonstrate that the 1961 contract is a net receipts royalty agreement that requires Mills Music, now EMI Mills, to pay Duke Ellington, now Ellington, one half of the 'net revenue actually received by the Second Party' from the 'foreign publication' of the songs falling within the scope of the contract." The Court rejected plaintiff's argument that the 1961 contract was a "at source" agreement, i.e., an agreement for payment of royalties earned worldwide calculated on the amount of income earned in the foreign territories at their source, rather than on the portion of that income received by the United States publisher. In sum, the 1961 contract permited defendants to employ the very method of royalty calculation of which Ellington now complains. Motion to dismiss granted.
October 19, 2011
TufAmerica fails to state a facially plausible claim under the Copyright Act because it concedes that its copyright claim is governed by the License, not the Copyright Act. While TufAmerica subsequently argues that the License does not govern mechanical royalties, a “claim for relief ‘may not be amended by the briefs in opposition to a motion to dismiss.’” As a result, Orchard’s motion to dismiss is granted.
October 17, 2011
October 6, 2011
September 26, 2011
There is no allegation anywhere in the amended complaint that Crooks did anything with the musical composition “Better” other than utilize the sound recording that she and Sevier created and that she was admittedly permitted to use for commercial or non-commercial gain. Indeed, Plaintiffs conceded in paragraph 735 of their amended complaint that “[t]he Defendants did not engage in unauthorized copying, but rather, their actions prevented Plaintiffs from copying.” That ends the inquiry; no claim for copyright infringement was properly alleged. Plaintiffs’ allegation that “Crooks attempted to transfer and did transfer an interest in the composition ‘Better’, [sic] which she did not own, to the Rich Defendants” is not the same thing as creating an improper copy of “Better.” We read nothing in the plain language of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106, to suggest that such a transfer constitutes copyright infringement. We expressly decline Plaintiffs’ invitation to grossly expand copyright infringement causes of action to include any acts that create barriers to a copyright holder’s ability to fully exploit that copyright.
September 23, 2011
There is no doubt that the Book and Film do share similar characters, themes, as well as a similar setting. However, this s haring of common features is only natural since both works feature a protagonist who has a difficult upbringing and turns to a life of violence and street crime, a story which has long ago been part of the public domain and which has been the subject of numerous movies and television shows. Thus, both works may properly contain gang life in inner-city New Jersey, characters spending time in jail, the search for an ex-girlfriend upon release from prison, making love in the shower, obtaining money through criminal activity, purchasing fancy clothes and accessories with the proceeds of crime, shoot-outs, murder, and the loss of a parent.
August 31, 2011
August 25, 2011
August 22, 2011
August 12, 2011
July 19, 2011
Dan Auerbach; Patrick Carney dba McMoore McLessT Publishing v. Della Femina/Rothschild/Jeary Partners; Della Femina & Gianettino Inc.; Valley National Bancorp; Valley National Bank, Index No. 1:11 CV 4902 (S.D.N.Y. filed 7/15/2011).
The Black Keys (in the author's opinion, the pride of Akron, Ohio!) bring a copyright infringement action for defendants' unauthorized use of their song "Tighten Up" in a television commercial. Plaintiffs allege defendants incorporated significant portions of the copyrighted recording without first obtaining plaintiffs' consent or a license.
June 27, 2011
Defendant recording artist's motion for an order amending the caption to reflect the correct name of plaintiff record label, "Alistair Records, LLC" is granted. Defendant artist's motion for entry of a default judgment on his breach of contract counterclaim against plaintiff label is granted ($6,000). Artist's motion for entry of a default judgment on his counterclaim for rescission is denied and that counterclaim is severed and dismissed. Artist's remaining counterclaims continue.
Artist's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint (seeking injunction and $750,000) is granted. Record label failed to submit any evidentiary facts to controvert the claims in artist's motion.
June 9, 2011
June 6, 2011
May 13, 2011
May 2, 2011
April 19, 2011
April 18, 2011
April 12, 2011
March 21, 2011
National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Inc. v. Gotta Have It! Collectibles Inc. dba Gotta Have and Roll.com, No. 11-103366 (Sup. Ct. NY. Co. filed 3/18/11) -- summons with notice for conversion of the Grammy Award Statuette awarded to Stevie Wonder for Songwriter of the Year (1973).
March 15, 2011
March 10, 2011
March 9, 2011
The court also found that application of the Washington statute would cause forum shopping by having plaintiffs divert sales to Washington, and would require users of the rights (potential defendants) to attempt to restrict commercial activity to avoid application of the statute. Applying the domicile-at-death rule would avoid these problems and provide certainty.
March 7, 2011
February 28, 2011
February 15, 2011
February 14, 2011
February 10, 2011
February 9, 2011
Lawrence Martin Temme v. Sony Music Entertainment, Index No. 11-650342 (Sup. Ct., N.Y. Co. filed 2/8/2011).
Complaint for negligence and conversion. Plaintiff, a freelance music photographer, alleges that over the course of his 20 years in the music industry, he has photographed some of the biggest names in popular music. Plaintiff alleges that the defendant has lost or converted thousands of valuable photographic images belonging to the Plaintiff. Plaintiff seeks $500,000 in damages based on the defendant's alleged breach of bailment, its negligence, and its conversion of the plaintiff's property.
February 3, 2011
Christopher J Ward v. Ramones Production Inc. et al, Index 650291/2011 (Sup. Ct., NY Co. filed Feb. 2, 2011). Complaint for breach of contract. Plaintiff (known as "CJ Ramone") is a former member of the rock band The Ramones. Plaintiff seeks to recover royalty payments for musical compositions created by the Ramones. $600,000.