Copyright Preemption Remix – The Second Circuit Finds Implied Preemption of Right of Publicity Claim Relating to Remixes on Mixtape

Written by Elaine K. Kim and Elaine Nguyen The Second Circuit recently issued an important decision, In re Jackson, No. 19-480, — F.3d —, 2020 WL 4810706 (2d Cir. Aug. 19, 2020), in which it held that a state law right of publicity claim was barred on the ground of implied copyright preemption.  While implied preemption—also known as conflict preemption—has come up in other copyright … Continue reading Copyright Preemption Remix – The Second Circuit Finds Implied Preemption of Right of Publicity Claim Relating to Remixes on Mixtape

Lights, Cameras, Action! Los Angeles Greenlights Resumption of Filming for Productions

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Carly Epstein Over the last week, California and Los Angeles have announced the protocols that must be in place for music, TV, and film productions to re-open. On Friday, June 5, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (the “Department”) stated that music, TV, and film production may resume “no sooner than June 12, 2020” subject to several conditions.  The … Continue reading Lights, Cameras, Action! Los Angeles Greenlights Resumption of Filming for Productions

Court Holds Vicarious Copyright Liability Claim Can Move Forward Against Major ISP

Written by Marc E. Mayer, Leo M. Lichtman, and Orly Ravid

Last week, the music industry enjoyed a high profile victory in its efforts to combat music piracy allegedly facilitated by Internet service providers (ISPs), including cable and telecommunications companies that provide Internet access to members of the public.  In Warner Records Inc. et al. v. Charter Comm’ns, Inc., No. 1:19-cv-00874, Judge R. Brook Jackson in the U.S. District Court of Colorado adopted a Magistrate’s Judge’s ruling from October 2019 allowing claims of vicarious copyright infringement against Charter Communications, one of this country’s largest ISPs, to proceed beyond the pleading stage.

The Charter Communications lawsuit was initiated last year by Warner Records and a group of several dozen record companies and music publishers, who collectively have produced or control the rights to millions of sound recordings and musical compositions.  In their Complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Charter is contributorily and vicariously liable for the infringement of thousands of copyrighted works that were unlawfully reproduced and distributed by its subscribers via peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs such as BitTorrent.  According to the Complaint, Charter has known for years that subscribers were using its network to pirate music—including particular customers that were repeatedly infringing the plaintiffs’ copyrights—by virtue of the thousands of infringement notices that were sent to Charter detailing specific instances of infringement on its network.  The plaintiffs claim that despite those notices, Charter nonetheless failed to take appropriate action to curb the infringement in order to avoid the loss of subscriber revenue. Continue reading “Court Holds Vicarious Copyright Liability Claim Can Move Forward Against Major ISP”

COVID-19 Relief for Music Industry Workers

Written by Eleanor M. Lackman and Craig C. Bradley

Music industry associations and trade groups, working alongside organizations spanning the creative industries, scored a major victory in securing financial help under the CARES Act (the “Act”) for musicians, music producers, and other music industry workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief falls into two categories: (1) unemployment compensation expanded from traditional employees to include benefits previously unavailable to independent contractors, “gig” workers, and the self-employed, and (2) newly-available loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), including loan advances of up to $10,000, which are now also available to sole proprietors, independent contractors, and the self-employed. Continue reading “COVID-19 Relief for Music Industry Workers”

MSK Wins Reversal of “Dark Horse” Copyright Verdict

Written by Christine Lepera, Jeffrey M. Movit and Gabriella Nourafchan

Last July, a team of MSK attorneys represented Defendants in a copyright infringement trial involving allegations that the ostinato (a musical phrase that repeats) in Katy Perry’s 2013 song “Dark Horse” infringed the ostinato in Plaintiffs’ Christian rap song entitled “Joyful Noise.”  After the jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiffs, MSK filed a motion seeking reversal, or in the alternative, a new trial.

This week, the Court granted MSK’s motion, overturned the jury verdict, and entered judgment in Defendants’ favor.  The Court found that Plaintiffs’ copyright claim failed because the ostinato in “Joyful Noise” was commonplace expression that no music creator can monopolize.  Continue reading “MSK Wins Reversal of “Dark Horse” Copyright Verdict”