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D4L Copy Three-Note Riff?
Highest Court N.D. Georgia
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Music Publisher(s)
Record Label(s)
Songwriter(s)
Defendants Asylum Records
Atlantic Records
D4L
Smith, Teriyakie
Warner-Elektra-Atlantic
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The hip-hop group D4L is probably best known for their infectious hit song, "Laffy Taffy," though they've had an otherwise notable career, including the song at issue in this lawsuit, 2006's "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me." Plaintiff is a songwriter, former member of an unknown rap group called the Woodlawn Click, acting through his record label and music publisher, alleging that D4L copied his song "Come Up," which was distributed and performed around the Atlanta area and even appeared in an Atlanta-themed hip-hop movie called "Dirty South," which was never commercially released. D4L, it should be noted, are based in Atlanta. Defendants argued that they never heard the song, never saw the movie, and thus had no access. The allegedly similar melody between the two songs was written by their own producer, Teriyakie Smith, merely by playing three adjacent keys on his keyboard. Defendants were unable to exclude Plaintiff's expert musicologist, because the court found his methodology passed the "Daubert" test for expert witnesses. However, Defendants' motion for summary judgment was granted. Though D4L may have had access to Plaintiff's song, and the songs were indeed substantially similar, Defendants provided uncontroverted evidence of "independent creation." After all, in the words of Teriyakie Smith, "the keys on the [computer] keyboard were right beside each other. And that's how the tune came about." Sounds convincing. Defendants' summary judgment granted. - LSW

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure Evidence Admissibility
Copyrights Infringement Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination


Opinions Watt v. Butler
744 F.Supp.2d 1315
N.D. Georgia , September 28, 2010 ( Civil Action File No. 1:08_CV_3386_TWT )


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Related Searches Parties
Asylum Records ( Defendant )
Atlantic Records ( Defendant )
D4L ( Defendant )
Music Publisher(s) ( Plaintiff )
Record Label(s) ( Plaintiff )
Smith, Teriyakie ( Defendant )
Songwriter(s) ( Plaintiff )
Warner-Elektra-Atlantic ( Defendant )

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure / Evidence / Admissibility
Copyrights / Infringement / Reproduction & Distribution/Dissemination

Courts
N.D. Georgia (highest court)


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