Den v. Renaissance Marketing Corp., No. 14-cv-2999, 2014 BL 303007 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2014).
In case concerning defendants' alleged use of the "Super Bowl Shuffle" without plaintiff' authorization, a federal court in Illinois held that the case should remain in federal court as preempted by the federal Copyright Act. Accordingly, plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court was denied.
The Super Bowl Shuffle is a song and music video trumpeting the success of the 1985 Chicago Bears. Plaintiffs initially brought a case in Illinois state court alleging that defendants were not assignees of the record label's interest and therefore defendants were improperly benefiting from the marketing, distribution and licensing of the song without authorization. Defendants removed the case to federal court, claiming that the state-law claims (for constructive trust, injunctive relief, conversion, unjust enrichment, and accounting) were preempted by the Copyright Act. Plaintiffs moved to remand to state court.
The Court held that removal of the case to federal court, under 28 USC 1441, was proper. The Court found that the Copyright Act preempted the state law causes of action for conversion, declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. 17 USC 301. Plaintiffs were not just seeking to enforce the royalty agreement with the label, as defendants allegedly were improper assignees of the contract. The rights seeking plaintiff sought to enforce were really copyright claims, protecting plaintiffs "against the world." Other claims -- for constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and an accounting -- were not preempted, but the Court retained supplemental jurisdiction.