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Somebody to Love

Somebody to Love

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Published by Eriq Gardner
@eriqgardner
@eriqgardner

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Published by: Eriq Gardner on Mar 28, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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03/29/2014

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UNITEDSTATESDISTRICT
COURT
FOR
THE
EASTERNDISTRICT
OFVIRGINIA
Norfolk
Division
DEVINCOPELAND,
et
 l
Plaintiffs,
v.
CivilActionNo.2:13cv246
JUSTINBIEBER,
etal.,
Defendants.
ORDER
PlaintiffsDevinCopelandandMareioOvertonhavebroughtthiscopyrightinfringement
suitagainstthefollowingDefendants:JustinBieber;UsherRaymond,IV;HeatherBrightd/b/a
B-RHAKAPublishing;B-RHAKAPublishing( B-RHAKA );RayRomulusd/b/aPleaseEnjoy
theMusic;PleaseEnjoytheMusic;JonathanYipd/b/aProducts
of
theStreet;Products
of
the
Street;JeremyRiversd/b/aSumphu;Sumphu;UniversalMusicCorp.( Universal );Universal
MusicPublishingGroup;Sony/ATVMusicPublishing,LLC( Sony );WBMusicCorp.
( WB );TheIsland
Def
JamMusicGroup( Island );StageThreeMusic(U.S.)Inc.;Stage
ThreeMusic,LLC;andJonettaPatton.
Plaintiffsassertthatthreeversions
of
thesong SomebodytoLove, recordedin2010by
Mr.BieberandMr.Raymond,infringePlaintiffs'copyrighttoasimilarly-titledsongrecordedby
Mr.Copelandin2008.Plaintiffsseekactualandprofitdamagesintheamount
of
 10,000,000,
aswellaspunitivedamages.
WithPlaintiffs'consent,Defendantsweregivenextensions
of
timeinwhichtoanswer
theComplaint.IslandandUniversalthenmovedtodismisstheComplaintforfailuretostateaclaimuponwhichreliefcouldbegranted.ECFNo.17.
This
motionassertsthatDefendants'accusedsongsarenotextrinsicallyorintrinsicallysimilartoPlaintiffs'song,andthatPlaintiffs'
1
Case 2:13-cv-00246-AWA-TEM Document 72 Filed 03/28/14 Page 1 of 11 PageID# 762
 
claims
of
contributoryandvicariousinfringementareinadequatelypled.Ms.Bright,B-RHAKA,Sony,WB,andMr.Raymondlatermovedto
join
inthismotion.
OnDecember17,2013,theCourtissuedanOrdergrantingtherequestsforjoinderandorderingahearingontheissues
of
extrinsicandintrinsicsimilarity.ThishearingwasheldonMarch7,2014.Havinglistenedtothesongsatissueandheardargumentsfromcounsel,the
Court
 IN S
thatthesongsarenotintrinsicallysimilar.TheMotiontoDismissis
GRANTED
andthe
case
is
DISMISSED
W T
PREJUDICE
I.
FACTUALBACKGROUND
Indecidingamotiontodismissforfailuretostateaclaim,theCourt mustacceptastrue
all
of
thefactualallegationscontainedinthecomplaint and drawallreasonableinferencesin
favor
of
theplaintiff.
E.I.
duPontde
Nemours
 
Co.
v
Kolon
Indus.
Inc.
637F.3d435,440
(4thCir.2011)(quoting
Erickson
v
Pardus
551
U.S.89,94(2007);
NemetChevrolet
Ltd.
v
Consumerqffairs.com
Inc.
591
F.3d250,
253
(4thCir.2009))(internalquotation
marks
omitted .
The
Court
may
also
consider
any
documents
thatare integralto
and
explicitly
relied
oninthecomplaint, iftheirauthenticityisuncontested.
Phillips
v
LCI
Int l
Inc.
190
F.3d609,
618(4thCir.1999).Plaintiffsallegethefollowingfacts:
Mr.Copeland,Mr.Raymond,andMr.Bieberaremusicalperformersandwritersinthe
musical
genrereferredtoas
Rhythm
and
Blues.
Compl.paras.26,35,39,ECFNo.1.Mr.
Overton
isa
songwriter.
Id.
at
para.
27.Mr.
Romulus,
Mr.
Yip,
and
Mr.
Reeves
are
songwriters
andmusicproducers,andperformas theStereotypes.
Id.
atpara.38.
Inearly2008,Plaintiffswroteasongentitled SomebodytoLove ( Plaintiffs'song ),
which
Mr.
Copelandrecordedforhis
album
 MyStoryII.
Id.
at
paras.
28-29.Plaintiffs
copyrightedthissongonOctober2,2008.
Id.
atpara.30.
Case 2:13-cv-00246-AWA-TEM Document 72 Filed 03/28/14 Page 2 of 11 PageID# 763
 
In
October
and
November
2009,
Plaintiffs
metPeterStockton,KevinLawson,and
Malik
Brooks
of
SangreelMedia( Sangreel ).
Id.
atpara.33.Sangreelfindsnewmusicalartistsfor
companies,includingIslandandSony.
Id.
SangreelexpressedinterestinpromotingPlaintiffs'
songs,andPlaintiffsprovidedSangreelwithcopies
of
severalsongs,including SomebodytoLove, forpromotionalpurposes.
Id.
atparas.33-34.Sangreelprovidedthesecopiestoother
artists,includingMr.Raymond.
Id.
atpara.35.OnJanuary5,2009,Mr.CopelandconversedwithMr.LawsonandMs.Patton.
Id.
at
para.36.Ms.PattonisMr.Raymond'smotherandmanager.
Id.
Ms.Pattonindicatedthatshe
andMr.Raymondhadlistenedto MyStoryII andwereinterestedinhavingMr.Copeland
rerecordthealbumwithMr.Raymondandgoonaperformancetourwithhimduringthe
summerof
2009.
Id.
However,neitherMs.
Patton
noranyotherrepresentativeof
Mr.
Raymond
contactedPlaintiffsthereafter.
Id.
atpara.37.
Mr.Raymondthenwroteasongentitled SomebodytoLove ( theRaymondaccused
song ),whichheproducedwiththeStereotypesandMs.Bright.
Id.
atpara.38.Thesongwas
uploadedtotheinternetonFebruary28,2010.
Id.
Plaintiffsassertthe
Raymond
accusedsongis
adirectanddeliberatecopy
of
Plaintiffs'song.
Id.
Mr.Raymond,Mr.Bieber,andtheStereotypesthenproducedanotherrecordingofthe
Raymond
accusedsong,which
was
released
on
Mr.
Bieber's
album
 My
World
2.0 inearly
2010( theBieberaccusedsong ).
Id.
atparas41-43.
PlaintiffsallegethatDefendantsknewthattheiractionswereinfringing,andhave
profitedfromthoseactions.
Id.
atparas.
53-55.
TheBieberaccusedsongperformedwellcommercially.
Id.
atpara.44.Mr.Raymond
andMr.Bieberlaterrecordedaremix
of
thissong,whichwasreleasedonJune25,2010.
Id.
at
Case 2:13-cv-00246-AWA-TEM Document 72 Filed 03/28/14 Page 3 of 11 PageID# 764

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