Plaintiff was hired by Coca Cola to adapt a song into Spanish. Plaintiff requested an "adapter's share." During a telephone call with defendant, Plaintiff agreed to relinquish any copyright interest in the work. In an email later that day, Plaintiff wrote "For the adaptation, you may consider it a work for hire with no economic compensation to that respect. I believe what's legal is a dollar."
The Court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Relying on section 204 of the Copyright Act, the Court held that Plaintiff's copyright interest -- the adapted lyrics -- was conveyed by a signed writing (the email). An irrevocable agreement was reached, so that later communications between the parties concerning a written contract that differed from the parties' agreement did not alter the parties' actual agreement. "Therefore, because Coca Cola cannot be sued based on a copyright interest it owns, Coca Cola is entitled to summary judgment on all counts."
Jordan Greenberger, Esq.
J. Greenberger, PLLC. A boutique law practice in New York City concentrating on copyright, trademark, litigation and related matters.