3 Count: Musical Dismissal

Three stories. All music. All about motions to dismiss.

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1: Migos Win Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over “Walk It Talk It”

First off today, Joshua Espinoza at Complex reports that rap group Migos has emerged victorious in a lawsuit filed by M.O.S. over their 2018 track Walk It Talk It.

M.O.S. filed the lawsuit claiming that Walk It Talk It was an infringement of his 2007 song Walk It Like I Talk It. In the lawsuit, M.O.S. sued for unspecified damages and an injunction barring any further use of his work.

The court, however, has found otherwise. In dismissing the case a judge pointed to a multitude of other rap songs that had similar lyrics and ruled that the lyrics at issue was a saying from popular culture that songwriters were free to pull from. Since the court found the only similarity between the songs was not original to the plaintiff, the court ruled it not protectable by copyright law and dismissed the case.

2: The Weeknd Must Face Copyright Infringement Suit, Court Says

Next up today, Saman Javed at the World Intellectual Property Review reports that the Central District of California has denied a motion to dismiss filed by The Weeknd in his ongoing lawsuit over the song A Lonely Night.

The lawsuit was filed by three British songwriters, William Smith, Brian Clover and Scott McCulloch, who claimed that A Lonely Night infringes the copyright of their 2004 song I Need to Love. They claim that their song was acquired by Big Life Music and then sold to Universal Music Group, which then relinquished rights to it shortly before The Weeknd song was released

In this case, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the case had sufficiently litigated and well-pleaded to continue the dispute. Though the judge doesn’t make any judgment on the merit of the case at this time, this ruling advances the case one step closer to a trial. According to the judge, there is a “reasonable expectation” that evidence of infringement may turn up during discovery.

3: Nirvana May Proceed With Copyright Claims Against Marc Jacobs

Finally today, in another case involving a motion to dismiss, Peter Hayes at Bloomberg Law reports that Nirvana LLC has survived a motion to dismiss in its lawsuit against Marc Jacobs International over alleged copyright and trademark infringement of the famous Nirvana “smiley face” logo.

Deceased Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain created the design in 1991 and registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in 1993. The symbol went on to be heavily identified with the band. However, in November 2018 Marc Jacobs announced its new line of “Bootleg Redux Grunge” clothing that included a design very similar to Nirvana’s.

This prompted Nirvana LLC to file a lawsuit on copyright and trademark grounds. That lawsuit, much like the one above, has also survived a motion to dismiss and inches closer to a potential trial.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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