Steward v. West, No. CV 13-02449 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 14, 2014).
In this copyright infringement action against Kanye West et al concerning a sample, the Court granted defendants' Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings. On the motion, the Court considered the sound recordings and held that, while plaintiff's sound recordings were sufficiently original to be protectable, defendants' copying was de minimis. "The result of these distortions and the short length of the samples is that the average audience would not recognize plaintiffs’ Song in any of Defendants’ songs without actively searching for it. In the Ninth Circuit, digital sampling is de minimis when 'the average audience would not recognize the appropriation.'" Accordingly, the copyright infringement (and dependent contributory liability claims) were dismissed.