UMG Recordings v. Global Eagle Entertainment, No. 14-03466 MMM (C.D. Cal. dated Feb. 23, 2015).
The Court denied defendant airline's motion to dismiss claims for copyright infringement under California law, along with California unfair competition claims, finding that even if in-flight entertainment qualifies as a service as that term is used in the Airline Deregulation Act, any connection between the service and plaintiffs' claims was too tenuous and remote to justify preemption.
Plaintiffs were various record companies and music publishers. They contended that defendants provided “various airlines” sound recordings and music videos that the airlines then publicly perform to their passengers. Defendants contended that the court should dismiss the record company plaintiffs’ state law copyright infringement and unfair competition claims because the claims were preempted by the Deregulation Act. Congress enacted the Deregulation Act in 1978 after determining that maximum reliance on competitive market forces would best further efficiency, innovation, and low prices as well as variety and quality of air transportation services."