Stark Victory: Sony Music Successfully Defends Iron Man Copyright Infringement Suit Based on Third-Party Work for Hire Challenge

When composer Jack Urbont brought suit for copyright infringement against rapper Dennis Coles (popularly known as Ghostface Killah), Urbont likely thought he had a straight-forward case. Urbont claimed that Coles’ had improperly sampled Urbont’s “Iron Man Theme” on Coles’ album, Supreme Clientele. Written for the Marvel television program Marvel Super Heroes, the Iron Man Theme

Inside Counsel’s Five-Part Series, “Where Former Entertainment GCs Go Next”, Provides Firm Profile of CDAS

Inside Counsel’s Senior Editor & Community Manager, Rich Steeves, published a five-part series titled “Where Former Entertainment GCs Go Next” last week, which was prominently featured on the Inside Counsel website. The series, which discussed the so called “third act” for successful general counsel, provided a comprehensive profile of CDAS and the services the firm

Musical Composition Copyright Infringement Cases Back in Vogue

Music “plagiarism” copyright infringement cases are not uncommon, and have made a comeback in recent years.  Artists from Led Zeppelin (Randy Craig Wolfe Trust v. Led Zeppelin (“Stairway to Heaven”)), to Avril Lavigne (Dunbar v. Gottwald (Lavigne’s “Girlfriend”)), to Jessie J (Loomis v. Cornish (Jessie J’s “Domino”)) have lately become embroiled in legal battles over

Toto Can’t “Hold the Line”: Sony Prevails in Digital Royalty Dispute with Classic Rockers

A New York federal judge recently ruled in favor of Sony Music Entertainment (“SME”) in the latest dispute over the proper characterization of artist royalties on digital music sales, dismissing a breach of contract claim brought by rock group Toto (best known for the hits “Africa” and “Rosanna”). Ever since the Ninth Circuit’s 2010 decision

Fight for the Fiend Skull Glenn Danzig v. Gerald Caiafa, et al. (C.D. Cal. 2014)

A legal battle is brewing: punk/heavy metal icon Glenn Danzig has sued his former Misfits bandmate, renowned bassist and singer Gerald “Jerry Only” Caiafa, for violations of various Misfits trademarks and logos. Following in the footsteps of Black Flag  the filed complaint is another example of former bandmates’ battles over merchandise that remains profitable long

Judge Has “More Than a Feeling” About Nominative Fair Use: Donald Thomas Scholz v. Fran Migliaccio and Anthony Migliaccio

A federal court in Washington gave some “Peace of Mind” to former members of legendary rock band Boston when it denied Boston’s band leader a preliminary injunction in a trademark dispute.  Plaintiff Donald Thomas Scholz (“Scholz”) is the founder and band leader of Boston, and undisputed owner of all of Boston’s trademarks.  Fran Migliaccio and

“Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge (And Sign This) My Friend”

A recent lawsuit between two members of a 1990’s and early aughts alternative rock band whose debut album sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. should open the eyes of new artists to the importance of getting partnership agreements, and not just lyrics, written down on paper.

Grammy Nom for Client Rebecca Pidgeon’s Album “Slingshot”

Congratulations to client Rebecca Pidgeon on the Grammy nomination for her album “Slingshot” for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, (Helik Hadar, engineer; Bernie Grundman, mastering engineer). Ms. Pidgeon, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and actress, also co-wrote nearly all its songs, composing primarily with longtime collaborator, Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein and one song, a country waltz entitled “Baby

The Clock is Ticking to Take Action Against Infringement

The recent case of Urbont v. Sony Music Entertainment, 11 Civ. 4516 (S.D.N.Y. March 27, 2012), highlights the disagreement among some federal courts as to when the three-year statute of limitations for copyright infringement claims begins its countdown. Directly at issue is whether the clock starts ticking when the infringement starts (the “injury rule”), or

Madonna’s Not the Only “Material Girl”: Judge Denies Summary Judgment

In California, a Federal Court Judge denied the defendent’s — Madonna’s — Motion for Summary Judgment that she is the “senior trademark user” of the “Material Girl” mark. This now clears the path for a lawsuit by the plaintiff, clothing company L.A. Triumph, which has sold a “Material Girl clothing line since 1997.