February 3, 2011

Ramones Royalties Suit

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.

February 2, 2011

Napster Loses Indemnification Suit Against Label Over Mechanical Licenses

Napster LLC v Rounder Records Corp., No. 09-cv-00318 (S.D.N.Y. decided Jan. 25, 2011).

The dispute is over whether Rounder, a record label, is contractually obligated to indemnify Napster for costs incurred due to copyright infringement lawsuits brought by the owners of musical compositions embodied in the sound recordings provided by Rounder. Napster contends that under two contracts, Rounder was required to procure mechanical licenses for use of the infringed musical compositions.

The court dismissed Napster’s claim based on the first contract because the contract was rescinded by the second contract, thereby extinguishing any claim Napster might have had for its breach. The court dismissed Napster’s claim based on the second contract (i) for Napster's failure to comply with its advance consent provision concerning indemnification; and (ii) it was not Rounder’s responsibility to procure mechanical licenses for the infringing compositions under the contract.

Motion to dismiss granted.