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Bert Williams Too "Hot" for Copyright?
Highest Court N.D. California
Year Ended 1898
Plaintiffs Music Publisher(s)
Defendants Music Publisher(s)
Other Williams, Bert
Short Description Owner of the copyright in the song "Dora Dean", written by Bert A. Williams (a popular African-American comedian during the Vaudeville era), sued Defendant for their song "Ma Angeline," which Plaintiff claimed was a pirated version of his song based on its very similar melody. Defendant countered that Plaintiff's song was a pirated version of "Ma Angeline." In addition to the issue of who owned the copyright to the melody, the court considered the issue of whether the use of the word "hottest" in the lyric "She's the hottest thing you ever seen," in the song "Dora Dean" disqualified the Plaintiff's copyright due the immoral character that that word connotes. The court ruled that Plaintiff held the copyright to the melody, but that the version of the song with the immoral lyric did not deserve copyright protection. The court did, however, allow Plaintiff to maintain its copyright in the version of the song without the "indelicate and vulgar" word. Judgment for Plaintiff. - SKR

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure Interlocutory Orders Preliminary Injunction
    Temporary Restraining Order
Copyrights Infringement Copying & Distribution/Dissemination
    Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination
  Ownership Registration & Formalities


Opinions Broder v. Zeno Mauvais Music Co.
88 F. 74
N.D. California , June 01, 1898 ( No. 12,193 )


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Related Searches Parties
Music Publisher(s) ( Plaintiff )
Music Publisher(s) ( Defendant )
Williams, Bert ( Other )

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure / Interlocutory Orders / Preliminary Injunction
Civil Procedure / Interlocutory Orders / Temporary Restraining Order
Copyrights / Infringement / Copying & Distribution/Dissemination
Copyrights / Infringement / Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination
Copyrights / Ownership / Registration & Formalities

Courts
N.D. California (highest court)


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