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Plaintiffs' Reply in support of TRO in Capitol v. Bluebeat

Plaintiffs' Reply in support of TRO in Capitol v. Bluebeat

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Published by Ben Sheffner

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Published by: Ben Sheffner on Nov 05, 2009
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08/07/2010

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MitchellSilberberg &Knupp
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RUSSELL J. FRACKMAN (SBN49087)MARC E. MAYER(SBN 190969)DAVID A. STEINBERG(SBN 130593)MITCHELL SILBERBERG & KNUPP LLP11377 West Olympic BoulevardLos Angeles, California 90064-1683Telephone:(310) 312-2000Facsimile:(310) 312-3100Attorneys for PlaintiffsUNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTCENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIACAPITOL RECORDS, LLC,a Delawarelimited liability company; CAROLINERECORDS, INC., a New York Corporation; EMI CHRISTIAN MUSICGROUP INC., a California Corporation;PRIORITY RECORDS, LLC, aDelaware limited liability company;VIRGIN RECORDS AMERICA, INC.,a California Corporation;andNARADAPRODUCTIONS,INC., a Wisconsincorporation,Plaintiffs,v.BLUEBEAT, INC., a Delawarecor  poration, doing business aswww.bluebeat.com; MEDIA RIGHTS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., a Californiacorporation; BASEBEAT, INC., aDelaware corporation,doing business aswww.basebeat.com; and HANK RISAN, an individual; and DOES 1 through 10,Defendants.CASE NO.2:09-cv-08030 JFW (JC)Honorable John F. Walter 
REPLY MEMORANDUM INSUPPORT OF
EX PARTE 
APPLICATION OF PLAINTIFFSFOR TEMPORARY RESTRAININGORDERAND ORDER TO SHOWCAUSE RE: PRELIMINARYINJUNCTION
Case 2:09-cv-08030-JFW-JC Document 11 Filed 11/04/2009 Page 1 of 5
 
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The cursory memorandumof Defendants in Opposition to Plaintiffs’
 Ex Parte
Application (“Opposition”) is nonsensical, deliberately misconstrues theCopyright Act (including the scope of rights accorded to the owner of soundrecordings under Section 114), and ultimately confirms that Defendants are in factcopying, distributing, and publicly performing Plaintiff’s copyrighted and pre-1972sound recordings without license or authorization.Defendants’ assertion that the BlueBeat Website “markets and sells anentirely different sound recording thanthat copyrighted by Plaintiffs” (Opp. at 3) iscompletely false. Review of any of the recordings sold and publicly performed bythe BlueBeat Website confirms that Defendants are selling and performingthe
exact same
sound recordings owned byPlaintiffs. The copies offered byDefendants are not comprised of “new and original” sounds; they are copies of theidenticalmaterial that is embodied on Plaintiffs’ sound recordings(i.e.,the same performances, by the same recording artists.)Were itotherwise, Defendantswould not be able to sell those recordings on the BlueBeat Website. Indeed,descriptions of each of Plaintiffs’ recordings made available on the BlueBeatwebsite
credit Plaintiffs and theirrecording artists
, and Defendants promise onthe BlueBeat Website that all such recordings are of “perfect fidelity.”
1
That iscopyright infringement, whether the works are sold and performed by themselvesor somehow (as Defendantsclaim) incorporated into an “audiovisual work.” SeeAgee v. Paramount Commun., Inc., 59 F.3d 317, 322(2d Cir. 1995)(“The plainimplication of section 114(b) is that commercial entities…may not reproducesound recordings on soundtracks of audiovisual works…”)In essence, what Defendants seemto be arguing is that because they
copied 
Plaintiffs’ sound recordings using their own proprietary technology, they havecreated a “new,” “independently fixed” sound recording. That is wrong. It is
1
 
Case 2:09-cv-08030-JFW-JC Document 11 Filed 11/04/2009 Page 2 of 5
 
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infringement to reproduce, distribute, and digitally publicly perform a copyrightedsound recording, regardless of the technical means or manner by which theinfringing copies are
created 
. Defendants’ “psycho-acoustic simulation” argumentis the equivalent of claiming that the sound recordings Defendants are selling were“independentlyfixed” and noninfringing because they were created using musicrecorded or captured from the radio. Such a theory would, of course, completelyeviscerate the rights of sound recording owners, and it thus has been firmly andconsistently rejected. In United States v. Taxe, 540 F.2d 961 (9th Cir. 1976),the Ninth Circuit affirmed a criminal conviction of a defendant who engaged in“record piracy” by using “specially adapted electronic tape equipment” to re-recordsound recordings. The Court easily rejected the defendant’s argument that byusing this technique he “independently fixed” the sound recording:“The copyright owner's right to reproduce the soundrecording is limited to recapture of the original sounds, but that right can be infringed by an unauthorized re-recording which, despite changes in the soundsduplicated, results in a work of ‘substantial similarity’…[The copyright owner] can protect his right of reproduction from persons who produce an audiblyequivalent work by re-recording.”540 F.2d at 965 n.2. See alsoBridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films
 
, 410 F.3d792, 801 & 802 n. 13 (6th Cir. 2005) (re-recording of sounds, including throughdigitalsampling, is copyright infringement).Defendants’ reading of Section 114 of the Copyright Act intentionallymisreads and distorts the statute and is wrong. The portion of Section 114 quoted by Defendants (concerning the “independent fixation of 
other sounds
”) (emphasisadded) has no relevance here. That provision is intended to clarify that a newrecording of a completely
different performance
or by a
differentperforme
(for example, a “cover” version of a song) would not infringe the sound recordingcopyright, even if that new performanceset out to imitate the original. It does not
Case 2:09-cv-08030-JFW-JC Document 11 Filed 11/04/2009 Page 3 of 5

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