Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Copyright Law - First Circuit - Can You Prove You Own That Song?

 Latin American Music Co., Inc. v. Media Power Group, Inc., 705 F.3d 34 (1st Cir. 2013).
Music licensing organization asserted copyright infringement claims against “Radio Isla” in Puerto Rico.  The district court found collateral estoppel on certain songs barred some claims that LAMCO had previously litigated and lost.  Other ownership claims were submitted to the jury, some after the district court had ruled on summary judgment at trial.  LAMCO lost on all claims, and appealed the district court’s referral of the ownership issue to the jury.  Because the pretrial order asserted that ownership was a contested issue at trial and because LAMCO did not object to a special jury verdict form that asked the jury to decide the question, the ownership issue was properly before the court.  On several songs, the First Circuit affirmed LAMCO’s claims for failure to prove registration.  Instead of proving copyright registration of individual songs, LAMCO’s registration certificates only reflected a recording of an assignment to rights in the songs.  Accordingly, it was held that this was insufficient proof of a registration of the copyright in the underlying works.

Click here to read Judges Torruella, Howard, and Thompson's decision.
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd
 Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw

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