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Let’s Go Crazy: Legal Battle Heats Up Over Unreleased Prince Recordings

On the anniversary of Prince’s death, a battle is being waged over the late musician’s work. Last week, Prince’s estate sued a sound engineer who was planning to release a six-song EP containing previously unreleased Prince recordings.  The estate alleged that this engineer, George Ian Boxill, was in unlawful possession of the recordings and did […]

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Three Cheers for Copyrights: SCOTUS Establishes New Standard for Determining Separability

On March 22, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling aimed at resolving “widespread disagreement” over an important aspect of copyright law. Under U.S. copyright law, “original works of art” are capable of protection, whereas “useful articles” are not.  However, the distinction between works of art and useful articles can often be hazy, particularly when […]

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When the Unthinkable Happens: IP Considerations for Bankruptcy

In the event that the unthinkable happens and bankruptcy becomes the only course of action for businesses, having not only a good bankruptcy attorney, but also having an involved IP attorney is vital to ensure that rights in valuable intellectual property are appropriately addressed and maintained. A basic understanding of Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 […]

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Copyright Infringement and Fair Use in a Digital World

In the most general sense, copyright infringement is copying, or using, a work protected by copyright without permission from the copyright owner. Almost inevitably, soon after you hear the words “copyright infringement”, you will also hear the words “fair use”. Fair use is one of the most frequently discussed defenses to copyright infringement but it […]

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Copyright Office Establishes New Electronic DMCA Agent Registration

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provision is one of the most important copyright laws of today’s online focused society. As of December 1, 2016, the Copyright Office has enacted a new set of rules one must follow to register a DMCA agent. The new system makes registration cheaper and easier but does […]

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Spinal Tap Goes To 11 As Co-Creator Sues Vivendi for $125,000,000

It is nearly impossible to be backstage at a concert and not hear at least one quote from, or a reference to, the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. The film, first released in 1984, has gone on to be considered one of the most popular and successful films of all time. It has been included […]

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The Importance of Deposit Copies in Copyright Litigation

Two of the most notorious copyright litigation cases in recent years share one thing in common, neither jury was allowed to compare the audio recordings of the songs in question. The rulings in both the “Blurred Lines”and “Stairway to Heaven”cases show how important it is to file accurate and complete deposit copies with the US […]

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Attorneys Granted Motion for Increased Fees in “Happy Birthday” Copyright Suit

Recently a California U.S. District Judge found that Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. did not hold a valid copyright on the song “Happy Birthday To You‚¬, and the song was held to be in the public domain. As part of the judgment, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. was ordered to pay $14 million to reimburse members of the class […]

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“Stairway to Heaven” Holds on to Iconic Riff

One of the most iconic rock songs of the 20th Century came under fire earlier this summer for allegations of copyright infringement. The estate of Randy Wolfe, guitarist for Spirit on the song “Taurus,”brought a copyright suit against Led Zeppelin, frontman Robert Plant, and guitarist Jimmy Page alleging infringement of a guitar riff that opens […]

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Under Pressure: The State of Sampling in the Music Industry

Earlier this month, Madonna won the appeal of a copyright infringement lawsuit before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiff, VMG Salsoul LTD., alleged that a tiny (0.23 second!) sample of the horns from the song “Love Break“was used in Madonna’s song “Vogue.‚¬ The majority held that the sample was too small to be […]

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