August 22, 2012

Distribution, Not Only Copying, Sufficient For Copyright Claim

Marshall v. Huffman, No. 10-1665 (N.D. Cal. filed Aug. 20, 2010) [Doc. 133].

This action concerns a song recorded by Mariah Carey, and claims against Carey and a music executive for unauthorized exploitation of Plaintiff's song.  Defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that plaintiff failed adequately to allege his copyright claim, because plaintiff fails to allege that defendant “copied” plaintiff’s work, and because the allegation that Huffman “distributed” plaintiff’s copyrighted work without permission is insufficient to support the copyright infringement claim since it is devoid of supporting facts.  Defendant's was "not well taken."  The Court found that a claim for copyright infringement can be based on allegations of unauthorized distribution of a copyrighted work. See 17 U.S.C. § 106(3) (exclusive rights protected by Copyright Act include right to distribution of copyrighted work). The complaint adequately explained the facts supporting the improper distribution allegations: it alleged that defendant distributed without permission plaintiff’s song “Are You the One,” in violation of the Copyright Act.  Motion to dismiss DENIED.