Francescatti v. Germanotta; No. 11-cv-520 (N.D. Ill. June 17, 2014).
The Court granted defendant Lady Gaga's motion to dimiss the copyright infringement case over Gaga's song "Judas", even though the Court found that defendants had access to plaintiff's song "Juda," because no reasonable trier of fact could find that the songs are substantially similar. With respect to access, the Court found that based on the nature and timing of a collaboration between Gaga and other defendants, a reasonable juror could find that there exists a nexus -- via a channel of communication -- between the parties and that therefore the defendants had an opportunity to hear the plaintiff's songs. Accordingly, defendants were not entitled to summary judgment on that ground. However, the Court found no substantial similarity. First, the Court undertook an extensive analysis of whether expert testimony was necessary, or permissible, to determine similarity under the ordinary observer test. The Court found that expert testimony was warranted because the songs are sufficiently complex, especially given the use of computer technology. Second, the Court undertook the extrinsic-intrinsic test and held that the songs are substantially similar. The songs do not share enough unique features to give rise to a breach of the duty not to copy another's work.