February 14, 2011

Copyright Case Over Lil' Wayne Movie Dismissed

Crump v. QD3 Entertainment, Inc., 2011 WL 446296 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 8, 2011) (Jones, J.).

The lawsuit stems from the use of three copyrighted musical compositions in a documentary film entitled The Carter. The film focused on the life of Dwayne Carter, a hip hop and urban musical artist who is known by his stage name “Lil' Wayne.”

Defendants moved for summary judgment. As a procedural matter, the court focused on Plaintiff's failure: to oppose the filing of a motion for summary judgment pre-discovery, to file a Rule 56(f) affidavit, and to describe any potentially discoverable facts that make a motion for summary judgment premature.

In its legal analysis, the Court found that "the only issue is whether the agreement with another Young Money entity (Young Money Entertainment, Inc.) was sufficient to grant a nonexclusive license in the Defendants." The Court determined that the language of the subject agreement and uncontested facts clearly established that Defendants received a non-exclusive license to use any performance by Dwayne Carter of his copyrighted musical compositions, including “Pussy Monster,” “La La,” and “Lollipop.” In sum, Defendants met their burden of establishing that they received a grant of a nonexclusive license from Dwayne Carter and Young Money Publishing to use the three musical compositions at issue here in The Carter. The undisputed facts presented by both parties demonstrated that the clear intent of the parties was to grant the nonexclusive license. Summary judgment granted to Defendants.