Royalties Dispute Between Co-Authors Of Song Not Preempted

McCants v. Tolliver, 2014-Ohio-3478 (Ohio. Ct. App., 9th Dist. Aug. 13, 2014).

An Ohio appellate court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the plaintiff's breach of contract claim as pre-empted by the Copyright Act.  The dispute concerned a royalty-split between co-authors of a song, later licensed to the Blacked Eyed Peas, pursuant to an alleged oral agreement.  Although the dispute did concern a song and recording, there was no "extra element" because "Th[e] alleged promise to split the proceeds is 'qualitatively different' than that of a copyright infringement claim."

McCants does not argue that Tolliver could not reproduce, perform, or distribute the song. See 17 U.S.C. § 106. Instead, McCants argues that he should be compensated according to the alleged agreement between the parties. Because McCants’ claim for breach of contract is qualitatively different than that of a copyright infringement claim, his claim is not preempted by the Copyright Act and the court erred in finding that it was preempted.

Improper Joinder of Does in RIAA/P2P Litigation

Arista Records, LLC v. Does 1-11, No. 07-CV-02828, 2008 BL 253292 (N.D. Ohio Nov. 3, 2008).

Summary: Northern District of Ohio Finds Record Companies Improperly Joined Doe Defendants in Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Case

Diverging in opinion from its Southern District counterpart, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio held that the Doe defendants in a music industry file sharing case
were improperly joined. The court reasoned that despite arguments and holdings to the contrary, addressing the issue of joinder was both legally and practically appropriate prior to
the identification of the Doe defendants, and that efficiency concerns should not supersede the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, the court converted defendant Doe 9’s motion to dismiss for improper joinder into a motion for severance and severed all of
Doe defendants, save Doe #1, from the current action.

Bloomberg law report.

Going Back to Ohio

OTCS was in Cleveland for the weekend and was reminded of one of its most popular blog entries regarding a copyright infringement action filed in the Northern District of Ohio against a winery for failure to obtain ASCAP public performance licenses. Following up on this matter, it appears that not much has occurred since initially filed. However, Judge Catherine O'Malley granted defendant winery an extension until February 27, 2008 to file an answer or other responsive pleading.

Generally Rule 12(a)(1)(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("...defendant shall serve an answer within 20 days after being served with the summons and complaint...").

[Freejunket Music et. al v. Ferrante Wine Farm, Inc; case no. 1:08-cv-00155; order issued Feb. 7, 2008]

Wine About It

...More cookie-cutter copyright infringement cases filed against "place[s] of business for public entertainment..." for failure to obtain ASCAP public performance licenses. This time, the defendants include a winery in the Buckeye State (i.e., Ohio).

[Freejunket Music et al v. Ferrante Wine Farm, Inc. ( filed 1.17.2008; case number 1:08-cv-00155), and Stygian Songs et al v. Gadd's Olympic Inn, Inc. (filed 1/17/08; case number 4:08-cv00156) both N.D. Ohio, Eastern District]