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Raps About Pac Too Similar?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Songwriter(s)
Defendants Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records
Universal Music
Universal Music Group
Other Hamilton, Anthony
Jadakiss
Short Description Plaintiff is an unknown songwriter and hip-hop artist, alleging that Jadakiss and Anthony Hamilton infringed Plaintiff's song, "Thugz Prayer," in Defendants' song, "Why." Both songs deal with the untimely deaths of 2pac, Notorious B.I.G., and Aaliyah, and both songs repeat the word "why" in doing so. Plaintiff brought numerous causes of action, not just copyright infringement, including trademark-related claims. The court held that all but the copyright infringement claim were either preempted by the Copyright Act or, as with the trademark claims, foreclosed by Supreme Court decisions differentiating between copyright and trademark actions. Furthermore, the copyright infringement claim fell short. Both Plaintiff and Defendants' song involve issues in the public consciousness, the death of certain celebrities, and commentary on that subject cannot be protected by copyright. Asking "why," in relation to their deaths is equally unprotectible. The court refused to find "comprehensive non-literal similarity," because Plaintiff failed to demonstrate the "fundamental essence or structure" of his work or how Defendant copied that essence or structure. Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted, though Plaintiff was given time to amend his complaint. - LSW

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure Interlocutory Orders Preliminary Injunction
Copyrights Infringement Accounting
    Copying & Distribution/Dissemination
Trademarks & Unfair Competition Federal (Lanham Act) Unfair Competition, False Advertising & Related Torts


Opinions Oldham v. Universal Music Group
2010 WL 4967923
S.D. New York , November 29, 2010 ( No. 09 Civ. 7385(LMM) )


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Related Searches Parties
Hamilton, Anthony ( Other )
Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records ( Defendant )
Jadakiss ( Other )
Songwriter(s) ( Plaintiff )
Universal Music ( Defendant )
Universal Music Group ( Defendant )

Legal Issues
Civil Procedure / Interlocutory Orders / Preliminary Injunction
Copyrights / Infringement / Accounting
Copyrights / Infringement / Copying & Distribution/Dissemination
Trademarks & Unfair Competition / Federal (Lanham Act) / Unfair Competition, False Advertising & Related Torts

Courts
S.D. New York (highest court)


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