August 12, 2011

Transfer To Florida Appropriate Where Only Connection To New York Is Internet Access

Caldwell v. Slip-N-Slide Records, Inc., 10 Civ. 9106 (JFK), NYLJ 1202510748971, at *1 (SDNY, Decided July 26, 2011).

The Court granted defendants' motion to transfer to federal court in Florida, pursuant to 28 USC 1401(a). "Plaintiff brings this suit in New York under the theory that the allegedly infringing song was distributed in New York over the Internet, including through YouTube and iTunes. As the only apparent connection to this forum is the distribution of "Bond Money" over the Internet, a fact which would support venue in any district court in this country, Plaintiff's choice of forum is entitled to little weight."

Plaintiff alleged that in 2001 he created the musical composition and sound recording of a song entitled "Dim Hits," which he later registered with the United States Copyright Office. In 2004, Plaintiff gave a copy of "Dim Hits" to a vocalist known as Trina, who has a recording contract with the Defendants. In 2008, Plaintiff discovered that the Defendants had allegedly copied "Dim Hits," without his permission, and incorporated it into a song titled "Bond Money." Plaintiff also alleges that the Defendants have distributed "Bond Money" on several albums, web sites, and other outlets throughout the United States.

None of the parties demonstrated ties to New York. Plaintiff was a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina. Defendant corporation was a Florida corporation that "promotes, develops, markets and manages recording artists," with its principal place of business and sole office in Miami Beach, Florida. The song "Bond Money" was purportedly written and recorded in Florida. Individual defendants were a Florida and Georgia resident. Another corporate defendant was a Phoenix, Arizona limited liability company.