Bryant v. Media Right Productions Inc., 09-2600-cv, 5/5/10 NYLJ "Decision of Interest" (2d Cir. decided April 27, 2010).
Affirming lower court's finding that musical albums were compilations, and therefore each infringer was liable for only one award of statutory damages per album, rather than one award per song.
"...[I]nfringement of an album should result in only one statutory damage award. The fact that each song may have received a separate copyright is irrelevant to this analysis." The Court expressly declined to adopt an"independent economic value test" (adopted by other circuits) that would have allowed a statutory damage award for each song on the album because the Copyright Act specifically states that all parts of a compilation must be treated as one work for the purpose of calculating statutory damages. "We cannot disregard the statutory language simply because digital music has made it easier for infringers to make parts of an album available separately." See also fn. 6, collecting local district court cases that have considered whether a compilation is subject to only one statutory damage award (and noting that those courts reached the same conclusion).
The Court then went on to review the District Court's decision on intent (it had found that the conduct was innocent, not willful infringement), its calculation of statutory damages ($2,400), and its decision not to award attorneys' fees.
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