ASCAP and BMI: Music Publishers’ Digital Rights Should be Separable

Both American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (“ASCAP”) and Broadcast Music Inc. (“BMI”) have made submissions to the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to support the arguments of Sony/ATV and Universal that music publishers should be allowed to choose which services to license through performing right collecting services like ASCAP or BMI.

Their submissions came as the DOJ engages in a review of the collective licensing system triggered by the recent court decision prohibiting music publishers from separately negotiating their digital rights given the consent …

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Judge Dismisses Copyright Lawsuit Against Lady Gaga

“Simply listening to the songs, as the law requires, reveals their utter lack of similarity,” wrote U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen in his decision to dismiss the lawsuit.  Lady Gaga’s legal battle started back in 2011 when a Chicago singer Rebecca Francescatti sued the pop star alleging Gaga plagiarized parts of her 1999 song “Juda” for Lady Gaga’s hit “Judas” released in 2011.

In a copyright infringement case, the court looks at whether the defendant had access to the plaintiff’s work and how similar the …

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Beastie Boys Trial Against Monster Energy Drinks Begins

In 2012, the Beastie Boys brought suit against Monster Energy Drink, claiming both copyright infringement and unfair competition resulting from Monster’s use of their songs in an online promotional video.  The Beastie Boys are seeking $2 Million in damages.

The controversy stems from a promotional video about a snowboarding competition in Canada called “Ruckus in the Rockies,” which is organized and sponsored by Monster.  After the event, Monster posted a video online of the competition and the after-party, including a mash-up mix performed by DJ …

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‘Hits of the 80s’ Producer Facing Class Action for Breaking ‘Promises, Promises’ to Consumers

On March 20, 2014, Tutm Entertainment, a media company known for producing music albums such as ‘Hits of the 80s’ and ‘Hits of the 90s,’ was hit with a class action suit in New Jersey federal court.  The suit, headed by lead plaintiff Celeste Farrell, is seeking over $5 million in damages for advertising practices Farrell claims constitute consumer fraud.

In particular, Farrel’s filing accused Tutm of releasing albums that appeared to contain the original versions of classic hits such as “Cult of Personality” by …

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Federal Judge Rules on Pandora/ASCAP Dispute Over Streaming Revenue

Internet radio company Pandora Media has been engaged in litigation with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”) over how much Pandora should be required to pay the society in exchange for Pandora’s right to stream copyrighted music online.  A recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote declared that Pandora would be required to continue paying a rate of 1.85% of its revenue to the ASCAP through 2015 – the same rate Pandora has been paying for years.

ASCAP viewed Judge Cote’s …

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Coinye Shutting Off “All of the Lights”

“Coinye West” is closing up shop because Kanye West isn’t happy.  On January 14, 2014, Kanye West filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the virtual currency now known as Coinye.  The currency, which started as a joke, announced through its website, “Coinye is dead. You win, Kanye.”

Earlier this month, the currency’s founders discussed Coinye West in an interview with Vibe. They talked about the soon to be launched currency.  Referring to Kanye, they said “I think he’s gonna love that there’s a …

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The Infamous Chris Brown is in Trouble Again

Chris Brown is a Grammy-winning R&B star who has sold millions of albums, but to many, he’s known more for his rap sheet than his music. The singer’s latest brush with the law came on October 27, as Brown was arrested for assault following an altercation outside a Washington D.C. hotel. According to reports, charges were filed after an individual accused Brown and his bodyguard of punching him and breaking his nose. Some reports allege that the man attempted to unlawfully enter Brown’s tour …

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SiriusXM: “It Ain’t Me Babe”

Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, the principal songwriters and vocalists of 60’s pop group The Turtles, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in the Southern District of New York, against SiriusXM Radio, Inc., the satellite radio giant, captioned Flo & Eddie Inc., et al. v. SiriusXM Radio, Inc.; and Does 1 through 10, No. 13 CIV 5784, in mid-August. Perhaps signaling the urgency and seriousness of the situation, this past week attorneys from the New York-based law firms Weil, Gotschal and Manges LLP …

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Run DMC(A): No Safe Harbor for Vimeo against EMI?

It started with a simple equation: “Vimeo is video + you.” Yet this formula and model for the new “user-generated content”-fueled Internet has morphed into a case that could very well test the limits of the protection afforded to “service providers” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This past week, a federal judge found that a particular “safe harbor provision” of the DMCA, which has been invoked successfully by user-generated content providers like YouTube and Veoh in their respective quests to protect and insulate …

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Marvin Gaye Estate to Robin Thicke: Let’s Get It On

Robin Thicke was back in the news this past week. No, we’re not talking about his provocative appearance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards, which garnered him — and his performance partner — attention the world over. A recent development regarding the undisputed song of the summer, “Blurred Lines,” has Thicke wondering whether he’s “Got To Give It Up.” It was reported that the Estate of Marvin Gaye rejected a “six-figure” offer to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit against Thicke.

This comes …

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