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Unlicensed Use Of Popular Music Leads To Major Music Copyright Infringement Cases
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Copyright infringement comes with steep monetary fines in the United States and uniformed citizens have learned this the hard way in the past especially when the RIAA tried to stop distribution of free music between internet users. However, everyday music consumers only make up a part of the defendants that can find themselves on the wrong end of copyright infringement cases. Businesses, political campaigns, venues, programs, companies and other music artists are some other examples of those sued by music artists, record labels and publishing companies when they feel their work was used without their consent. This article will review some notorious copyright infringement cases in the music industry.

The Isley Brothers VS Michael Bolton

Soulful singer Michael Bolton was sued by the soul brother band after he released a song called Love is a Wonderful Thing. The result was anything but wonderful when a judge ruled that the song shared too many similarities to an earlier work from the Isley Brothers with the same title and ruled in their favor to the tune of $5.4.

Syl Johnson VS Kanye West and Jay Z

Mr. West is no stranger to copyright infringement cases due to his style of music production that uses old soul music samples. Last year after Kanye West and Jay-Z teamed up to create the platinum hip-hop album Watch the Throne the Throne found themselves in the court when soul singer Syl Johnson realized an uncleared sample from his song Different Strokes was used on the deluxe version of the album in a song called The Joy. What made this case a bit awkward is Kanye West's previous collaboration with Syl Johnson's daughter Sylena Johnson on a hit single from his debut album. The two parties settled the case out of court without disclosing the details to the public.

Frankie Sullivan VS. Newt Gingrich

Politician Newt Gingrich may have intended to evoke the perception of a fighter when he used the song Eye of the Tiger by the rock band Survivor that was previously licensed for many popular movies including Rocky and Karate Kid. Unfortunately Newt Gingrich was successful in invoking a legal showdown when Survivor band member Frankie Sullivan grew fed up with the repeated unlicensed use of the song during Mr. Gingrich's presidential campaign. A verdict has yet to be decided in this case of a lawmaker accused of breaking copyright law.

Black Keys VS Pizza Hut and Home Depot

Just this week it rock group Black Keys filed suit in separate copyright infringement cases against the popular fast food chain and home improvement store giant after they each ran advertising campaigns using songs from the group's latest album without consent. Black Keys members claim Home Depot used Gold on the Ceiling and Pizza Hut utilized Lonely Boy without proper clearance and are seeking unspecified damages. If the lawsuits are successful the rock duo could receive at least $150,000 collectively from both copyright infringement cases.

These copyright infringement cases show that no one is exempt from copyright law including public figures. Businesses and organizations also get hauled into court for copyright violations when they play music without proper licensing. Publishing rights organizations, record companies and now new digital monitoring services pay close attention to the use of music they have a stake in since unauthorized use of creative works equals a loss of royalties revenue for them. Because copyright infringement cases can be very costly to defend against it is better to be safe than sorry.


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