Plaintiff, a world-renowned lyric tenor, alleged that Defendants have been engaged in the unauthorized distribution and sale of five audio and audiovisual recordings of live opera and choral performances, in which plaintiff appeared as a featured artist. Plaintiff's cause of action for breach of contract against the defendant record distributor was dismissed because the label was not party to any contract with plaintiff. Plaintiff's causes of action for unjust enrichment against the defendant record distributor also was dismissed because there was no connection or relationship between the parties. Plaintiff's cause of action for common-law copyright infringement under New York law was dismissed because " the only judicially recognized relief in New York for the violation of such right are the protections afforded against the commercial misappropriation of a person's name, picture, or voice that are provided by Civil Rights Law §§50 and 51." This claim was dismissed under the applicable one-year limitations period. Additionally, Plaintiff's common law claim for unjust enrichment, based on the unauthorized appropriation of a name, picture, or voice, was subsumed under the time-barred Civil Rights Law §§50 and 51 claims.
February 9, 2012
Common-Law Copyright Claim Time Barred; No Breach or Unjust Enrichment
Goeke v. Naxos of America, Inc., 650606/09, NYLJ 1202541596753, at *1 (Sup., NY, dec. Jan. 27, 2012) (Fried, J).