Music

Good Day for Green Day: Judge Rules in Favor of Fair Use

In a lawsuit against the band Green Day, by Derek Seltzer (an L.A. Based Artist), the U.S. District Court Judge ruled in favor of Green Day in a motion for summary judgment on the basis of their fair use defense. Seltzer accused Green Day of violating his intellectual property rights through their unauthorized use of, and by altering, Seltzer’s notorious work, “Scream Icon”. Green Day’s use of the work appeared in a video backdrop during live performances of their song East Jesus Nowhere, throughout their 2009 tour. Continue reading

Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum: District Court Erred in Finding Statutory Copyright Damages Unconstitutional

On September 16, 2011, the First Circuit reversed the district court’s opinion in Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum — which found a jury verdict awarding statutory damages to plaintiffs to be unconstitutional and reduced the amount of damages on that ground — thereby reinstating the jury’s award of $675,000 to the plaintiff copyright holders. Continue reading

Defendant’s Attorney’s Fees Awarded After Successfully Defending Against Infringement Claim

The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publisher’s (“ASCAP”) successfully defended against a claim of copyright infringement asserted by Latin American Music Company (“LAMCO”) and, as a result, was awarded over $82,000 in attorney’s fees and costs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit stated that the Copyright Act did not prohibit the recovery of attorney’s fees in a case of non-infringement where the defendant prevails against the assertion. Continue reading

How Much Is Too Much? Transformative Works vs. Derivative Works: Photographer Wins Appropriation Art Copyright Case

Patrick Cariou, a professional photographer won his case in District Court in New York against well-known appropriation artist Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery after several of Cariou’s pieces were appropriated without consent in Prince’s “Canal Zone” series showing at the Gagosian in 2008. Continue reading

Supreme Court to Consider Constitutionality of Act Restoring Certain Foreign Copyrights

On March 2, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in a 10th Circuit case to review whether the Court of Appeals correctly upheld the constitutionality of §104A of the Copyright Act, which created or restored U.S. copyright protection to foreign works in 1996 which never had U.S. protections or had earlier fallen into the public domain in the U.S. because they failed to comply with certain formalities of U.S. copyright law. Petitioners claim that the 15 year-old statute violates the Copyright Clause by restoring copyrights of public domain works and violates a First Amendment right to exploit these restored works without permission from the owners. Continue reading

What’s Protectable?: Claim of Copyright Infringement of LaChapelle’s Photos in Rihanna’s ‘S&M’

Shira Scheindlin, a U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York, recently denied Robin “Rihanna” Fenty’s (“Rihanna”) Motion to Dismiss the copyright infringement element of a claim instituted by famed photographer David LaChapelle regarding Rihanna’s highly sensationalized ‘S&M’ video. LaChapelle asserts that the protectable elements of eight of his photographs were used in the creation of the video. The court ruled that LaChapelle successfully proved that a Motion to Dismiss was improper because the video was “substantially similar to particular original expressions of the subjects in the photos.” Continue reading