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First off today, CBC News is reporting that British singer Sam Smith has settled a dispute with American musician Tom Petty in a dispute over Smith’s 2014 track Stay With Me, which many felt had an eerily similar chorus to Petty’s 1989 I Won’t Back Down.
Smith has repeatedly said that the similarity was just a coincidence but acknowledged the overlap. Nonetheless, Smith has agreed to add Petty and co-writer Jeff Lynnne as co-authors of Stay With Me along with himself.
It’s unclear how much money Petty stands to make a a co-author of the song or if he will be paid back royalties.
Next up today, Robert Holguin at KABC in Los Angeles reports that, at the upcoming jury trial over the Robin Thicke hit Blurred Lines, a judge has decided that the Gaye estate, the plaintiffs, will not be able to play Got to Give it Up, the song that they say is being infringed.
The Gaye estate threatened Thicke and co-author Pharrell Williams alleging that Blurred Lines was an infringement of Got to Give it Up. Williams and Thicke proactively sued and now the case is heading for a possible jury trial on February 10. However, the judge ruled previously that the Gaye estate did not hold the copyright to the sound recording of Got to Give it Up, just the composition.
Because of that ruling, the judge has not said the estate can not use a recording of Got to Give it Up in the trial and instead will have to stick to what is solely in the composition of the work itself.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that composer Richard Friedman has sued Hans Zimmer, 20th Century Fox, Sony Music and others involved with the film 12 Years a Slave alleging that the film’s theme is an infringement of his earlier work.
According to Friedman, the film’s theme is an infringement of his earlier work entitled To Our Fallen, which he alleges was used as part of a 2008 episode of Desperate Housewives and that the overdub portions of the music were recorded at the same facility Zimmer used to create his musical score.
Unusually, Friedman is also suing for moral rights violations. Though moral rights are common in other countries, providing creators a right to demand attribution, they aren’t present in the U.S., as such Friendman is suing under the laws in Germany and France. Friedman is further demanding damages and an injunction against the distribution of the film.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.