McDonald v. West et al., No. 14-cv-8794 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 30, 2015) [Doc. 42].
In case about two songs both called "Made In America," the Court dismissed the Complaint against Kanye West, Jay-Z and others alleging copyright infringement of the plaintiff's song, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). First, the Court found that even though the two songs shared the same title, the song title "Made In America" was not copyrightable. "It is too brief, common, and unoriginal to create any exclusive right." Second, the Court analyzed similarity between the lyrics in the chorus of each song, along with alleged musical similarity. However, the Court found that plaintiff did not plausibly plead substantial similarity. The Court then turned to a "holistic" comparison of the two songs, because even if the indvidual elements that make up Plaintiff's songs are uncopyrightable, they still may represent a protected selection and arrangement of unprotectable elements. The Court found that no reasonable jury could find the two songs similar, lyrically or musically. The differences were major. "Where any reasonable juror would conclude - as here - that the differences are many, and what similarities exist are based on unprotectable elements, the two works are not substantially similar as a matter of law." Accordingly, the Court dismissed the complaint.