February 10, 2011

Summary Judgment Motions Denied In Alleged Hip Hop Infringement

Lessem v. Taylor et al., No. 07 Civ 10601(LLS), 2011 WL 344104 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 3, 2011).

Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment that defendants' song "How We Do" infringes their copyrighted song "Elevator". (Defendants' song appears on the album "The Documentary" by hip-hop artist The Game.)

The Court analyzed defendants' access to the Plaintiff's work (specifically, through a third-party intermediary), the probative similarity of the two works (based on expert reports), the alleged improper appropriation, and whether or not defendants independently created their song. The Court determined that factual issues precluded summary judgment.