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1. Lil' Wayne's Co-Author Sues
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2011
Plaintiffs Banner, David
Royalty Collector(s)
Defendants Film Distributor(s)
Film Studio(s)
Video/DVD Distributor(s)
Other Lil' Wayne
Short Description Plaintiffs include two hip-hop songwriters and producers, David Banner and Deezle, both of whom have worked, at various times, with Dwayne Carter, better known as Lil' Wayne. This lawsuit stemmed from a concert Lil' performed to be released as a film and DVD, called "The Carter." Lil' granted to Defendants the rights to use various songs he co-authored with Plaintiffs, for reproduction in the film and associated merchandise. Plaintiffs sued, alleging Lil's company, Young Money Entertainment, had no power to grant the licenses to the songs, because it was a not a copyright co-owner; the company listed on the copyright registration was Young Money Publishing. If Young Money did not have the ability to grant a license, Defendants' film infringed Plaintiffs' rights. However, held the court, the different Young Money entities were all companies through which Lil' Wayne himself acted, and Wayne could validly grant a license if he saw fit. Thus, Defendants had valid license. While Plaintiffs were most likely owed royalties from the production, this was a not an issue in the instant suit, which alleged infringement, not royalty nonpayment. Based on the facts before the court, Defendants' summary judgment was granted. - LSW

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2. Vandellas Want Royalties
Highest Court Sixth Circuit
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Martha and the Vandellas
Defendants Royalty Collector(s)
Universal Music Group
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The Vandellas (as in Martha and the Vandellas) sued Artists Recording Enforcement Corp., the company that helped them win their royalties from Motown, for withholding royalties from the group after success at trial. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]

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3. Who Gets "Piano" Smith's Money?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 1997
Plaintiffs Cotillion Music
Warner-Chappell Music
Defendants Music Publisher(s)
Royalty Collector(s)
Smith, Huey "Piano"
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description In a complicated case involving a royalty account held by the publisher and music company with copyrights to songs by Huey "Piano" Smith, Plaintiff publisher sought to determine proper division of funds in a royalty account containing around $45,000, from which four different parties claimed rights to distributions. The court held that claims by the government and a third party, AREC (see "Royalty Collector vs. 'Piano' Smith"), were valid, and that Plaintiff's duties were discharged thus discharged. Further, the court found Smith's cross-motion for copyright infringement meritless. - LSW

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4. Royalty Collector vs. "Piano" Smith
Highest Court Fifth Circuit
Year Ended 1996
Plaintiffs Royalty Collector(s)
Defendants Smith, Huey "Piano"
Spouse of Artist(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff is an organization whose goal is helping artists locate and receive proper compensation from royalties for copyrights, and in return Plaintiff takes 50% of the money received. When Huey "Piano" Smith became dissatisfied with Plaintiff's services, he purported to unilaterally cancel the agreement and transfer some of the salvaged copyrights to his wife, presumably to decrease assets susceptible to judgment. The court held Smith had no legal right to terminate the contract as he did and his attempted assignment is annulled. Smith's legal problems continued in "Who Gets 'Piano' Smith's Money?." - LSW

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