Murphy v. Lazarev, No. 14-5028 (6th Cir. Oct. 17, 2014) [File Name: 14a0790n.06]
The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of copyright infringement and breach of contract claims by two American co-authors of a song, Almost Sorry, against a Russian pop artist because there were numerous licensing agreements that granted defendant sweeping permission to record and perform the song. First, the Court held that the defendant did not waive his affirmative defense of "license," even though defendant did not file an answer to the amended complaint, because the plaintiffs were on notice of his affirmative defenses from an early stage in the lawsuit (when defendant filed a pro se letter in response to the complaint), thus satisfying the purposes of Rule 8. Second, the Court held that defendant had a valid express sub-license to record the song until 2013.