La-la-lawsuits: A Look at May’s Finest Litigious Moments

May 31st, 2012

The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has held that an IP address does not definitively identify an individual because of the  numerous identification issues, including poached connections, shared connections, and proxy servers.  Judge Brown explained that “while the ISPs will provide the name of its subscriber, the alleged infringer could be the subscriber, a member of his or her family, an employee, invitee, neighbor or interloper.”

TufAmerica sued The Beastie Boys for copyright infringement, misappropriation and unjust enrichment for the alleged inclusion of uncleared samples of music by the band Trouble Funk on the albums License to Ill and Paul’s Boutique.  The lawsuit was filed the day before Beastie Boy Adam Yauch died from cancer.

Henry Mancini’s publishing company, controlled by his heirs, has filed a claim with the American Arbitration Association against EMI Music Publishing seeking more than $1.35 million in unpaid royalties allegedly owed to Mancini’s company from net profits from the music in the original 1963 Pink Panther film.  The heirs want EMI’s administration rights terminated in addition to punitive damages due to the alleged malfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty.

Michael McDonald has sued label Warner Music Group, joining the long list of artists suing their label over the digital download as sale or license debate.

The Supreme Court declined to review Joel Tenenbaum’s challenge against a lawsuit with the RIAA, which resulted in a $675,000 jury verdict against college-student Tenenbaum for his illegal downloading of 30 songs.

A Tennessee District Court judge granted The Weinstein Company‘s motion for summary judgment in a case brought by “Soul Man” singer Sam Moore over the 2008 film Soul Men, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac.  Moore claimed that the film was loosely based on the career of the group Sam & Dave, of which Moore was a member. Moore alleged that the film infringed his rights of publicity, trademark rights, and an unfair competition violation.  In a 98 page opinion, the court found in favor of the defendant, Weinstein Company.  The opinion describes the plaintiff’s expert witnesses as inadequate and unreliable, and noted that the film does not mention “Sam & Dave” or “Sam Moore” directly, did not use any of their music aside from one cover of a song of theirs, and expressly uses a disclaimer that the persons and events in the film are fictitious.  All of Moore’s claims were individually addressed, finding on all counts in favor of defendant Weinstein Co.