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11-1708
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Filed 3/25/11 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
EASTERN DIVISION

VINCENT PETERS, professionally known as )


VINCE P. )
)
Plaintiff, )
)
v. ) Case No. 10 cv 3951
)
KANYE WEST, ) Judge Virginia M. Kendall
ROC-A-FELLA RECORDS, LLC, and )
UMG RECORDINGS, INC. ) Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan
)
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Defendant. )
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NOTI CE OF APPEAL
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Notice is hereby given that plaintiff Vincent Peters hereby appeals to the U.S. Court of

Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from the district court’s final judgment filed and entered in this
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action on March 3, 2011 (Docket Entry 35), including all adverse opinions and orders previously
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decided thereunder.
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March 25, 2011 /s/ William T. McGrath


One of the Attorneys for Plaintiff
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William T. McGrath
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Marsha K. Hoover
DAVIS McGRATH LLC
125 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 1700
Chicago, Illinois 60606
(312) 332-3033
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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

The undersigned, an attorney, hereby certifies that a copy of the foregoing Notice of Appeal
was served upon the following counsel via the Court’s CM/ECF system on the 25th day of March
2011, before the hour of 5:00pm.:

Ilene S. Farkas
ifarkas@pryorcashman.com

Eric Matthew Fishman


efishman@pryorcashman.com

Carrie A. Hall
cahall@michaelbest.com, jdschirmer@michaelbest.com
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Ronald Hanley Balson


rhbalson@michaelbest.com, jdschirmer@michaelbest.com
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/s/ William T. McGrath


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One of the Attorneys for Plaintiff


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SEVENTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS INFORMATION SHEET
Include the names of all plaintiffs (petitioners) and defendants (respondents) who are parties
to the appeal. Use a separate sheet if needed.

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION DOCKET NUMBER: 10 cv 3951

PLAINTIFF (Petitioner) v. DEFENDANT (Respondent)


Peters/appellant West/appellee

(Use separate sheet for additional counsel)


PETITIONER’S COUNSEL RESPONDENT’S COUNSEL
Name William T. McGrath Name Carrie A. Hall
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Firm Davis, Mannix & McGrath Firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
125 So. Wacker Dr. 180 N. Stetson Ave.
Address Suite 1700 Address Suite 2000
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Chgo. Il. 60606 Chgo.Il. 60601


Phone 312) 332-3033 Phone 312) 222-0800
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Other Information
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District Judge Kendall Date Filed in District Court 6/25/10


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Court Reporter A. Metler X-408-5154 Date of Judgment 3/3/11

Nature of Suit Code 820 Date of Notice of Appeal 3/25/11


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COUNSEL: Appointed Retained X Pro Se


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FEE STATUS: Paid X Due IFP


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IFP Pending U.S. Waived

Has Docketing Statement been filed with the District Court Clerk’s Office? Yes X No

If State/Federal Habeas Corpus (28 USC 2254/28 USC 2255), was Certificate of Appealability:

Granted Denied Pending

If Certificate of Appealability was granted or denied, date of order:

If defendant is in federal custody, please provide U.S. Marshall number (USM#):

IMPORTANT: THIS FORM IS TO ACCOMPANY THE SHORT RECORD SENT TO THE CLERK OF
THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS PURSUANT TO CIRCUIT RULE 3(A). Rev 04/01
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
EASTERN DIVISION

VINCENT PETERS, professionally known as)


VINCE P. )
)
Plaintiff, )
)
v. ) Case No. 10 cv 3951
)
KANYE WEST, ) Judge Virginia M. Kendall
ROC-A-FELLA RECORDS, LLC, and )
UMG RECORDINGS, INC. ) Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan
)
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Defendant. )
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PLAINTIFF’S CIRCUIT RULE 3(C) DOCKETING STATEMENT


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Plaintiff, Vincent Peters, by his attorneys, submits the following docketing statement
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pursuant to Circuit Rule 3 of the Local Appellate Rules of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the

Seventh Circuit.
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1. The Jurisdiction of the District Court


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The complaint in the District Court was for copyright infringement under the Copyright
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Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. §101, et seq. The district court had jurisdiction over this claims under 28
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U.S.C. §1331 and §1338(a).

2. The Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1291. The appeal is from the

final judgment entered after the district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the

complaint. Judgment was entered on March 3, 2011 (Docket Entry 35), and plaintiff filed a

notice of appeal on March 25, 2011.


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3. Matters remaining in the District Court

No matters remain in the District Court.

4. Related Proceedings in the Court of Appeals

There are no related proceedings in the Court of Appeals.

Respectfully submitted

/s/ William T. McGrath


One of the Attorneys for Plaintiff
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William T. McGrath (ARDC #1843567)


Marsha K. Hoover (ARDC #3128029)
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Davis McGrath LLC


125 S. Wacker Drive
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Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 332-3033
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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
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The undersigned, an attorney, hereby certifies that a copy of the foregoing Plaintiff’s
Circuit Rule 3(C) Docketing Statement was served upon the following counsel via the Court’s
CM/ECF system on the 25th day of March 2011, before the hour of 5:00pm.:
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Ilene S. Farkas
ifarkas@pryorcashman.com
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Eric Matthew Fishman


efishman@pryorcashman.com

Carrie A. Hall
cahall@michaelbest.com, jdschirmer@michaelbest.com

Ronald Hanley Balson


rhbalson@michaelbest.com, jdschirmer@michaelbest.com

/s/ William T. McGrath

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE Northern District of Illinois − CM/ECF LIVE, Ver 4.2
Eastern Division

Vincent Peters
Plaintiff,
v. Case No.: 1:10−cv−03951
Honorable Virginia M. Kendall
Kanye West, et al.
Defendant.

NOTIFICATION OF DOCKET ENTRY


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This docket entry was made by the Clerk on Thursday, March 3, 2011:
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MINUTE entry before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall: Enter MEMORANDUM,


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OPINION AND ORDER: For the reasons stated, the Court grants Wests Motion to
Dismiss. Civil case terminated. Mailed notice(tsa, )
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ATTENTION: This notice is being sent pursuant to Rule 77(d) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure or Rule 49(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. It was
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generated by CM/ECF, the automated docketing system used to maintain the civil and
criminal dockets of this District. If a minute order or other document is enclosed, please
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refer to it for additional information.


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For scheduled events, motion practices, recent opinions and other information, visit our
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web site at www.ilnd.uscourts.gov.


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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
EASTERN DIVISION

)
VINCENT PETERS, professionally known as )
VINCE P., )
) Case No. 10 C 3951
Plaintiff, )
v. ) Judge Virginia M. Kendall
)
KANYE WEST, ROC-A-FELLA RECORDS, )
LLC, AND UMG RECORDINGS, INC., )
)
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)
Defendants.
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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Vincent Peters (“Peters”) filed a copyright infringement suit against Kanye West,
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Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC, and UMG Recordings, Inc. (together “West”). Peters alleged that West
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copied portions of his song “Stronger,” infringing his copyright. West moves to dismiss Peters’s
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claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the
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reasons stated below, the Court grants West’s motion.


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STATEMENT OF FACTS
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The following facts are taken from Peters’s Complaint and are assumed to be true for

purposes of this Motion to Dismiss. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).

Peters is a songwriter and rapper, and wrote and recorded the song “Stronger” in 2006

(“Peters’s Song”). (Compl. ¶¶ 9, 13.) He also posted this song on his MySpace website, where it

was publicly accessible from late 2006 to early 2007. (Compl. ¶ 36.)

After a music production company told Peters that it would produce his rap album if he found

an executive producer, Peters approached John Monopoly (“Monopoly”) to be his executive


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producer. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Monopoly is well-known in the music industry as Kanye West’s close

friend and business manager, and is an executive at Kanye West’s own record label. (Compl. ¶¶ 14,

15.) Beginning in August 2006, Peters contacted Monopoly several times and sent him several of

his songs, including “Stronger.” (Compl. ¶ 16.) Monopoly eventually arranged a meeting with

Peters on November 12, 2006, where they listened to several of Peters’s songs, including “Stronger.”

(Compl. ¶¶ 17, 19.) After the meeting, Monopoly told Peters that he would be his executive

producer, but the album production deal never materialized. (Compl. ¶¶ 23, 24.)
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On July 31, 2007, Kanye West released a song called “Stronger” (“West’s Song”). (Compl.

¶ 25.) West’s Song became the number one single on various song charts both in the United States
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and abroad, received numerous awards, and sold over three million copies by December 2008.
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(Compl. ¶ 26.) It continues to be publicly performed in numerous locations both in the United States
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and abroad. (Compl. ¶ 27.)


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Peters does not allege infringement based on the music of West’s Song; rather he claims that

West’s Song infringes because of similarities in the lyrics. First, both songs have an identical title,
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“Stronger.” (Compl. ¶ 34.) Second, both lyrics include the name of English model Kate Moss.
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(Compl. ¶ 32.) Third, the refrains, or “hooks,” of both songs are similar.
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The hook in Peters’s Song is:

What don’t kill me make me stronger


The more I blow up the more you wronger
You coped my CD you can feel my hunger
The wait is over couldn’t wait no longer

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The hook in West’s Song is:

N-N-N-now th-th-that don’t kill me


Can only make me stronger
I need you to hurry up now
Cause I can’t wait much longer
I know I got to be right now
Cause I can’t get much wronger
Man I’ve been waitin’ all night now
That’s how long I’ve been on ya

(R. 18, Mot. to Dismiss Exb. C.) Both hooks reference the maxim “that which does not kill me

makes me stronger.” (Compl. ¶ 30.) Moreover, the hook in West’s Song includes the line “can’t
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wait much longer,” while the hook in Peters’s Song includes the line “couldn’t wait no longer.”
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(Compl. ¶ 31.) Finally, both hooks use the word “wronger.” (Compl. ¶ 33.)
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STANDARD OF REVIEW

To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a “short and
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plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
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To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must be “plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129
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S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see
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also Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010). A claim is facially plausible
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“when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
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the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Determining whether

a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will require “the reviewing court to draw on its judicial

experience and common sense.” Id. at 1950.

When documents are attached to a motion to dismiss, “the motion shall be treated as one for

summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed R. Civ. P. 12(d). However, “[d]ocuments that a defendant

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attaches to a motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if they are referred to in the

plaintiff’s complaint and are central to [his] claim.” Venture Assocs. Corp. v. Zenith Data Sys.

Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993). Thus, the Court may consider these attached documents

in deciding a motion to dismiss without converting the motion to one for summary judgment.

Tierney v. Vahle, 304 F.3d 734, 738 (7th Cir. 2002). Here, West attaches both sets of song lyrics to

his Motion to Dismiss. (Def.’s Mot. Dismiss Ex. C.) Because the lyrics are referred to in Peters’s

Complaint and are central to his copyright infringement claim, this Court will consider them in
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deciding this motion to dismiss.

DISCUSSION
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Peters alleges that West infringed on the copyright of Peters’s Song. “Anyone who violates
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any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner . . . is an infringer of the copyright or right of the
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author . . . .” 17 U.S.C. § 501 (2006). To establish copyright infringement, the plaintiff must
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plausibly plead two elements: (1) ownership of a valid copyright; and (2) copying of constituent

elements of the work that are original. Feist Publ’ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 361
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(1991). The Court addresses each element in turn.


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I. Ownership of a Valid Copyright


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The Court turns first to whether Peters owns a valid copyright to his song. “[N]o civil action

for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration

or registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title.” 17 U.S.C. §

411(a). This precondition to a copyright infringement suit is not jurisdictional, and therefore does

not deprive federal courts of subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate copyright infringement claims

involving unregistered works. See Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick, 130 S. Ct. 1237, 1242 (2010).

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Instead, “[i]n any judicial proceedings the certificate of a registration made before or within five

years after first publication of the work shall constitute prima facie evidence of the validity of the

copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.” 17 U.S.C. § 410(c); see also Wildlife Express

Corp. v. Carol Wright Sales, Inc., 18 F.3d 502, 507 (7th Cir. 1994). The effective date of Peters’s

copyright registration certificate (Compl. Exb. 1) is March 28, 2010—within five years of the first

publication of Peters’s Song in 2006—and is thus presumptively valid. Although this presumption

can be rebutted, West did not do so. Therefore, the Court concludes that Peters plausibly pled
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ownership of a valid copyright to Peters’s Song.

II. Copying of Constituent Elements


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Next, the Court determines whether West has copied the protected work. Copying may be
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plausibly pled with direct factual allegations, but that is “often hard to come by.” JCW Invs., Inc.
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v. Novelty, Inc., 482 F.3d 910, 915 (7th Cir. 2007). Peters’s Complaint alleges no direct evidence
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of copying. Copying, however, may be inferred where the defendant had access to the copyrighted

work and the accused work is substantially similar to the copyrighted work. See Susan Wakeen Doll
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Co., Inc. v. Ashton-Drake Galleries, 272 F.3d 441 (7th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted).
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A. Access to the Copyrighted Work


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Peters’s Complaint must plausibly plead that West had access to the copyrighted work. A

plaintiff may do so by plausibly pleading that the two works are so strikingly similar that the

possibility of independent creation is precluded. See Selle v. Gibb, 741 F.2d 896, 901 (7th Cir.

1984). Peters’s Complaint does not plead any facts alleging such a striking similarity between the

two songs.

Peters, however, may also plausibly plead access to the copyrighted work with facts alleging

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that the defendant had the opportunity to view the protected item. See Wildlife Express, 18 F.3d at

508 n.5. A defendant has the opportunity to view the protected item when the work was sent directly

to “a close associate of the defendant,” Selle, 741 F.3d at 901, or when the plaintiff’s work has been

widely disseminated to the public. See id.; see, e.g., Ty, Inc. v. GMA Accessories, Inc., 959 F. Supp.

936, 940 (N.D. Ill. 1997) (“Broad public display of a product may give rise to an inference of

access.”).

Here, Peters’s Complaint alleges that by November 2006, he provided a copy of Peters’s
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Song to Monopoly, who was Kanye West’s “close friend, advisor and business associate.” (Compl.

¶ 21.) Moreover, Peters alleges that he and Monopoly listened to Peters’s Song at their November
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12, 2006 meeting. Peters also claims that he widely disseminated Peters’s Song by posting it on his
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publicly accessible MySpace page in late 2006 and early 2007. These allegations plausibly allege
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that West had multiple opportunities to listen to Peters’s Song prior to the release of West’s Song
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on July 31, 2007. Therefore, Peters adequately pleads access to the copyrighted work.

B. Substantially Similar
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Peters must also plausibly plead that West’s Song is substantially similar to Peters’s Song.
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To do so, Peters must plausibly plead that “the accused work is so similar to the plaintiff’s work that
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an ordinary reasonable person would conclude that the defendant unlawfully appropriated the

plaintiff’s protectible expression.” Susan Wakeen Doll, 272 F.3d at 451 (citation omitted). Although

the ordinary observer test depends on whether the accused work has captured the “total concept and

feel” of the copyrighted work, the Court must first identify which elements of the work are protected

by the copyright. Wildlife Express, 18 F.3d at 511-12 (citation omitted); see also Ruolo v. Russ

Berrie & Co., 886 F.2d 931, 939 (7th Cir. 1989); FASA Corp. v. Playmates Toys, Inc., 912 F. Supp.

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1124, 1147 (N.D. Ill. 1996) (“Where, as here, the Court is comparing products that have both

protectible and unprotectible elements, we must exclude comparison of the unprotectible elements

from the application of the ordinary observer test.”), vacated in part on other grounds, 108 F.3d 140

(7th Cir. 1997). Because Peters claims that West’s Song infringes on his song due to their similar

titles, references to Kate Moss, and portions of the hooks, the Court must first identify whether those

elements of Peters’s Song are protected by copyright. The Court then addresses whether Peters has

adequately pled that an ordinary observer would find substantial similarity between the protectable
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elements of the two works.

1. Protectable Elements
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a. Title
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First, Peters alleges that West’s Song infringes on his song because they both have the same
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title. Although the title of a copyrighted work should be taken into account if the same title is
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applied to a work copied from it, titles by themselves are not subject to copyright protection. See

Wihtol v. Wells, 231 F.2d 550, 553 (7th Cir. 1956); see, e.g., Sweet v. City of Chi., 953 F. Supp. 225
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(N.D. Ill. 1996) (“It is well-established that titles . . . are not protected by copyright.”). Therefore,
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Peters’s Complaint does not plausibly allege that the title of Peters’s Song is a protectable element
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of the work.

b. Reference to Kate Moss

Second, Peters alleges that West’s Song infringes on his song because they both reference

the English model Kate Moss by name. However, “’[n]o one may claim originality as to facts.’”

Feist, 499 U.S. at 347 (citation omitted). Facts include names. Id. at 348 (“The same is true of all

facts—scientific, historical, biographical, and news of the day.”); see also Schroeder v. William

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Morrow & Co., 566 F.2d 3, 5 (7th Cir. 1977) (“[I]ndividual names and addresses are in the public

domain and not copyrightable.”). Therefore, Peters’s Complaint does not plausibly allege that the

reference to Kate Moss in Peters’s Song is a protectable element.

c. Hook

Third, Peters alleges that West’s Song infringes on his song because: (1) they both reference

the maxim “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”; (2) the hook in West’s Song includes the

line “can’t wait much longer” while the hook in Peters’s Song includes the line “couldn’t wait no
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longer”; and (3) both hooks use the word “wronger.”

The phrase “[t]hat which does not kill me makes me stronger” in Peters’s Song is
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unprotectable. “To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be original to the author.” Feist,
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499 U.S. at 345. Although the “requisite level of creativity [for originality] is extremely low,” the
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work must have been independently created by the author to be original. Id. Here, Peters concedes
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in his Complaint that the reference is to a “maxim.” (Compl. ¶ 30.) Maxims that enjoy a “robust

existence in the public domain” long before being employed in song lyrics lack the “requisite
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originality to warrant protection.” Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. v. Jostens, Inc., 155 F.3d 140, 144 (2d Cir.
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1998) (holding that the phrase “[y]ou’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything” is too
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common to be protectable) (citations omitted); see also Selle, 741 F.2d at 901 (“[I]f both works were

copied from a common source in the public domain, then there is no infringement.”). Because this

maxim was copied from a common source that enjoyed a robust existence in the public domain, it

is unprotectable.

Peters also alleges that the hook in West’s Song includes the line “can’t wait much longer”

while the hook in Peters’s Song includes the line “couldn’t wait no longer,” and that both hooks use

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the word “wronger.” Short phrases and expressions, however, are not protected by copyright. See

Alberto-Culver Co. v. Andrea Dumon, Inc., 466 F.2d 705, 711 (7th Cir. 1972); Sweet, 953 F. Supp.

at 229. Moreover, common, trite, and clichéd language conveying ideas generally expressed in a

limited number of ways are unprotectable. See, e.g., Allen v. Destiny’s Child, 2009 WL 2178676

at *8 (N.D. Ill. July 21, 2009) (Holderman, C.J.) (“Phrases and expressions conveying an idea

typically expressed in a limited number of stereotyped fashions are not subject to copyright

protection.”) (citation omitted).


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Here, “couldn’t wait no longer” in Peters’s Song is a short phrase expressing impatience in

trite and clichéd language. While the word “wronger” may not be common, it is not unique to Peters
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and is instead part of a common rhyme scheme ending in “-er.” Common rhyme schemes, however,
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are not protectable. See, e.g., Steele v. Turner Broad. Sys., Inc., 646 F. Supp. 2d 185, 192 (D. Mass.
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2009) (“A common rhyme scheme or structure does not qualify as original expression protectable
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under federal copyright law.”); Prunte v. Universal Music Group, 699 F. Supp. 2d 15, 29 (D.D.C.

2010) (“[A] rhyme scheme using words ending in the commonplace ‘-ill’ sound is [not]
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protectible.”). Therefore, Peters’s use of the words “longer” and “wronger” in a triple rhyme with
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“stronger” is not protectable. As such, Peters’s Complaint does not plausibly allege that the hook
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of Peters’s Song is a protectable element of the work.

d. Combination

Peters alternatively argues that an original combination of the title, the reference to Kate

Moss, and the portions of his hook are protectable. Although courts have stated that original

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combinations of unprotectable elements can be protectable, they have done so in limited contexts.1

An original combination of unprotectable elements can be protectable when “those

[unprotectable] elements are numerous enough and their selection and arrangement original enough

that their combination constitutes an original work of authorship.” Satava v. Lowry, 323 F.3d 805,

811 (9th Cir. 2003). Courts recognize a protectable combination of numerous unprotectable

elements when it is used by the defendant in its entirety in a nearly identical manner. See JCW Invs.,

482 F.3d at 916-17 (holding that defendant’s entire doll was only “minimally distinguishable” from
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plaintiff’s doll, which was a combination of numerous unprotectable details such as its face and

chair); Ruolo, 886 F.2d at 939-40 (finding sufficient evidence of substantial similarity when the
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defendant’s greeting card copied the plaintiff’s card—a combination of unprotectable elements such
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as stripes, paper and ink color, and font choice—in a nearly identical format); Lessem v. Taylor, 2011
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WL 344104 at *7-8 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 3, 2011) (Stanton, J.) (holding a genuine issue of material fact
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existed whether the plaintiff’s rap song was substantially similar to defendant’s when it allegedly

used an entire phrase from the plaintiff’s song verbatim, as well as the rhythm and tempo to which
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it was set).
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Here, in contrast, West’s Song does not use the contested combination of unprotectable
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elements—selected parts of the hook, the reference to Kate Moss, or the title—in their entirety in

a nearly identical format. The hook in West’s Song differs significantly from the hook in Peters’s

Song and contains a triple rhyme instead of Peters’s quadruple rhyme. Indeed, none of the sentences

that comprise the two hooks—even those referencing the maxim—are identical. Moreover, unlike

1
One such example is the scènes à faire doctrine which is not an issue in this case. See Bucklew v. Hawkins,
Ash, Baptie & Co., 329 F.3d 923, 929 (7th Cir. 2003)

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the plaintiff in Lessem, Peters does not allege that the rhythm and tempo of Peters’s Song is part of

his combination of unprotectable elements, nor does Peters allege that West’s Song appropriates

Peters’s rhythm and tempo. Therefore, the Court finds that the combination of Peters’s unprotectable

elements is not protectable.

2. Substantial Similarity

Once the unprotectable elements discussed above have been filtered out, the two works can

be compared to determine whether they are substantially similar. See, e.g., Incredible Techs., Inc.
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v. Virtual Techs., Inc., 400 F.3d 1007, 1011 (7th Cir. 2005). After a side-by-side comparison of the

two sets of lyrics, this Court as an ordinary observer finds that the filtered song lyrics are not
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substantially similar. See Wildlife Express, 18 F.3d at 510. Indeed, the hooks and verses no longer
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have any similarities and are different in content and style. See, e.g., Alvarez v. Industria Del Amor,
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1999 WL 498610, at *3 (N.D. Ill. July 9, 1999) (Leinenweber, J.) (finding no substantial similarity
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because “the songs are different in content and style and tell different stories”).

Peters argues that the two songs have “fragmented literal similarity,” based on a doctrine
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recognized in other circuits that instructs courts to find substantial similarity when a smaller
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fragment of a work, but not the overall theme or concept, has been copied literally. See, e.g.,
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Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. UMG Recordings, Inc., 585 F.3d 267, 275 (6th Cir. 2009). The smaller

fragment must be a “direct quotation[] or close paraphrasing,” Castle Rock Entm’t, Inc. v. Carol Pub.

Grp., Inc., 150 F.3d 132, 140 (2d Cir. 1998), and must have qualitative and quantitative significance

in relation to the plaintiff’s work as a whole. Newton v. Diamond, 388 F.3d 1189, 1195 (9th Cir.

2003). “[R]andom similarities scattered throughout the works are not a proper basis for a finding

of substantial similarity.” Bridgeport Music, 585 F.3d at 275 (citations omitted).

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Here, however, the similarities in the two songs do not rise to the level of fragmented literal

similarity. The only smaller fragments that are copied literally are the words “don’t kill me make

me stronger,” “wronger,” “wait no longer,” and “Kate Moss,” which do not have readily

recognizable qualitative significance in relation to the plaintiff’s work as a whole. See, e.g., Murray

Hill Publ’ns, Inc. v. ABC Comm., Inc., 264 F.3d 622, 633 (6th Cir. 2001) (stating that smaller

fragments must be “an integral part” of that work and as “‘readily recognizable’ in terms of [their]

relationship to the [work] as ‘E.T. phone home’ is to its movie source”), abrogated on other grounds
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by Reed Elsevier, 130 S. Ct. at 1237.

Therefore, because no ordinary observer could find that the filtered song lyrics are
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substantially similar, and there is no fragmented literal similarity, Peters’s Complaint fails to
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plausibly plead that West’s Song is substantially similar to Peters’s Song.


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CONCLUSION AND ORDER


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For the reasons stated, the Court grants West’s Motion to Dismiss.
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So ordered.
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________________________________________
Virginia M. Kendall
United States District Court Judge
Northern District of Illinois
Date: March 3, 2011

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Case:
Case:1:10-cv-03951
1:10-cv-03951Document
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AO 450 (Rev. 01/09) Judgment in a Civil Action
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
for the
Northern District of Illinois
Vincent Peters )
Plaintiff )
v. ) Civil Action No. 10 c 3951
Kanye West et al )
Defendant )

JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL ACTION


The court has ordered that (check one):

the plaintiff (name) recover from the

defendant (name) the amount of


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dollars ($ ), which includes prejudgment


interest at the rate of %, plus postjudgment interest at the rate of %, along with costs.
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the plaintiff recover nothing, the action be dismissed on the merits, and the defendant (name)
recover costs from the plaintiff (name)
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x other:
The Court grants Wests motion to dismiss.
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This action was (check one):

tried by a jury with Judge presiding, and the jury has


rendered a verdict.
tried by Judge without a jury and the above decision
was reached.

X decided by Judge Virginia M. Kendall on a motion for dismissal by


the defendants.

Date: Mar 3, 2011 Michael W. Dobbins, Clerk of Court

/s Tresa S. Abraham
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APPEAL, FINNEGAN, TERMED

United States District Court


Northern District of Illinois - CM/ECF LIVE, Ver 4.2 (Chicago)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:10-cv-03951
Internal Use Only

Peters v. West et al Date Filed: 06/25/2010


Assigned to: Honorable Virginia M. Kendall Date Terminated: 03/03/2011
Cause: 17:101 Copyright Infringement Jury Demand: Plaintiff
Nature of Suit: 820 Copyright
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Plaintiff
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Vincent Peters represented by Marsha Kathryn Hoover


Professionally known as Vince P. Davis, Mannix & McGrath
125 South Wacker Drive
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Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60606
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(312) 332-3033
Email: mkhoover@davismcgrath.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED
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Tiffany D Gehrke
Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
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233 South Wacker


6300 Willis Tower
Chicago, IL 60606
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312-474-6300
Email: tgehrke@marshallip.com
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TERMINATED: 01/25/2011
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William T. McGrath
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Davis, Mannix & McGrath


125 South Wacker Drive
Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 332-3033
Email: wmcgrath@davismcgrath.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

V.
Defendant
Kanye West represented by Ilene S. Farkas
Pryor Cashman LLP
410 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022

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(212) 421-4100
Email: ifarkas@pryorcashman.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Carrie A. Hall
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
180 North Stetson Avenue
Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 222-0800
Fax: (312) 222-0818
Email: cahall@michaelbest.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Eric Matthew Fishman


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Pryor Cashman Llp


7 Times Square
New York, NY 10036
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(212) 326-0181
Email: efishman@pryorcashman.com
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ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Ronald Hanley Balson


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Michael Best & Friedrich LLP


180 North Stetson Avenue
Suite 2000
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Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 222-0800
Fax: (312) 222-0818
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Email: rhbalson@michaelbest.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED
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Defendant
Roc-a-fella Records, LLC represented by Ilene S. Farkas
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(See above for address)


LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Carrie A. Hall
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Eric Matthew Fishman


(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Ronald Hanley Balson


(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

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Defendant
UMG Recordings, Inc. represented by Ilene S. Farkas
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Carrie A. Hall
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Eric Matthew Fishman


(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Ronald Hanley Balson


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(See above for address)


ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED
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Date Filed # Docket Text


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06/25/2010 1 COMPLAINT for Copyright Infringement filed by Vincent Peters; Jury


Demand. Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 0752-4952900. (Attachments: # 1
Exhibit)(McGrath, William) (Entered: 06/25/2010)
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06/25/2010 2 CIVIL Cover Sheet (McGrath, William) (Entered: 06/25/2010)


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06/25/2010 3 ATTORNEY Appearance for Plaintiff Vincent Peters by William T. McGrath


(McGrath, William) (Entered: 06/25/2010)
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06/25/2010 4 ATTORNEY Appearance for Plaintiff Vincent Peters by William T. McGrath


Marsha K. Hoover (McGrath, William) (Entered: 06/25/2010)
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06/25/2010 CASE ASSIGNED to the Honorable George M. Marovich. Designated as


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Magistrate Judge the Honorable Sheila M. Finnegan. (nsf, ) (Entered:


06/25/2010)
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06/25/2010 SUMMONS Issued as to Defendants Roc-a-fella Records, LLC, UMG


Recordings, Inc., Kanye West (emd, ) (Entered: 06/25/2010)
06/29/2010 5 ATTORNEY Appearance for Plaintiff Vincent Peters by Marsha Kathryn
Hoover (Hoover, Marsha) (Entered: 06/29/2010)
07/02/2010 6 ATTORNEY Appearance for Plaintiff Vincent Peters by Tiffany D Gehrke
(Gehrke, Tiffany) (Entered: 07/02/2010)
07/13/2010 7 WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Vincent Peters. Kanye West
waiver sent on 6/25/2010, answer due 8/24/2010. (McGrath, William)
(Entered: 07/13/2010)
07/13/2010 8 WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Vincent Peters. Roc-a-fella
Records, LLC waiver sent on 6/25/2010, answer due 8/24/2010. (McGrath,
William) (Entered: 07/13/2010)

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07/13/2010 9 WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Vincent Peters. UMG


Recordings, Inc. waiver sent on 6/25/2010, answer due 8/24/2010. (McGrath,
William) (Entered: 07/13/2010)
07/28/2010 10 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Filing fee $ 50, receipt number
0752-5059582. (Fishman, Eric) (Entered: 07/28/2010)
07/28/2010 11 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Filing fee $ 50, receipt number
0752-5059639. (Farkas, Ilene) (Entered: 07/28/2010)
08/03/2010 12 MINUTE entry before Honorable George M. Marovich: Applications by Eric
M. Fishman and Ilene S. Farkas to appear pro hac vice on behalf of defendants
is granted. Mailed notice (slb, ) (Entered: 08/03/2010)
08/10/2010 13 ATTORNEY Appearance for Defendants Roc-a-fella Records, LLC, UMG
Recordings, Inc., Kanye West by Ronald Hanley Balson (Balson, Ronald)
(Entered: 08/10/2010)
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08/10/2010 14 ATTORNEY Appearance for Defendants Roc-a-fella Records, LLC, UMG


Recordings, Inc., Kanye West by Carrie A. Hall (Hall, Carrie) (Entered:
08/10/2010)
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08/10/2010 15 ATTORNEY Appearance for Defendants Roc-a-fella Records, LLC, UMG


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Recordings, Inc., Kanye West by Ilene S. Farkas (Farkas, Ilene) (Entered:


08/10/2010)
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08/10/2010 16 ATTORNEY Appearance for Defendants Roc-a-fella Records, LLC, UMG


Recordings, Inc., Kanye West by Eric Matthew Fishman (Fishman, Eric)
(Entered: 08/10/2010)
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08/11/2010 17 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ORDER: Case reassigned to the Honorable


Virginia M. Kendall for all further proceedings. Signed by Executive
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Committee on 8/11/2010. (ber, ) (Entered: 08/12/2010)


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08/24/2010 18 MOTION by Defendants UMG Recordings, Inc., Roc-a-fella Records, LLC,


Kanye West to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)
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(6) and Memorandum in Support Thereof (Farkas, Ilene) (Entered: 08/24/2010)


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08/24/2010 19 NOTICE of Motion by Ilene S. Farkas for presentment of motion to dismiss 18


before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall on 9/1/2010 at 09:00 AM. (Farkas,
Ilene) (Entered: 08/24/2010)
08/24/2010 20 EXHIBIT B by Defendants regarding MOTION to dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and Memorandum in Support
Thereof 18 . (DOCUMENT NOT IMAGED) (mb, ) (Entered: 08/25/2010)
08/26/2010 21 MINUTE entry before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall:Defendant's motion to
dismiss 18 plaintiff's complaint pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6)is entered and
briefed as follows: Responses due by 9/9/2010. Replies due by 9/16/2010.
Ruling will be made by mail. Parties need not appear in court on
9/1/2010.Mailed notice (tsa, ) (Entered: 08/26/2010)
08/30/2010 22 MOTION by Plaintiff Vincent Peters for extension of time to file
response/reply as to terminate motion and R&R deadlines/hearings,, motion

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hearing,, set motion and R&R deadlines/hearings, 21 (Gehrke, Tiffany)


(Entered: 08/30/2010)
08/30/2010 23 NOTICE of Motion by Tiffany D Gehrke for presentment of motion for
extension of time to file response/reply, motion for relief,, 22 before Honorable
Virginia M. Kendall on 9/7/2010 at 09:00 AM. (Gehrke, Tiffany) (Entered:
08/30/2010)
08/31/2010 (Court only) ***Deadlines terminated. (tsa, ) (Entered: 08/31/2010)
08/31/2010 24 MINUTE entry before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall:Agreed motion for
extension of time 22 is granted. The briefing schedule on the motion to dismiss
18 is amended as follows: Responses due by 9/20/2010. Replies due by
10/5/2010. Ruling will be made by mail. Parties need not appear in court on
9/7/2010. Mailed notice (tsa, ) (Entered: 08/31/2010)
09/20/2010 25 RESPONSE by Vincent Petersin Opposition to MOTION by Defendants UMG
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Recordings, Inc., Roc-a-fella Records, LLC, Kanye West to dismiss Plaintiff's


Complaint Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and Memorandum in Support
Thereof 18 (Attachments: # 1 Declaration W. McGrath Declaration with
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Exhibits)(Gehrke, Tiffany) (Entered: 09/20/2010)


10/05/2010 26 REPLY by Defendants Roc-a-fella Records, LLC, UMG Recordings, Inc.,
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Kanye West and Memorandum of Law in Further Support of Defendants'


Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
(Farkas, Ilene) (Entered: 10/05/2010)
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01/24/2011 27 MOTION by counsel for Plaintiff Vincent Peters to withdraw as attorney


(Gehrke, Tiffany) (Entered: 01/24/2011)
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01/24/2011 28 NOTICE of Motion by Tiffany D Gehrke for presentment of motion to


withdraw as attorney 27 before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall on 2/1/2011 at
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09:00 AM. (Gehrke, Tiffany) (Entered: 01/24/2011)


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01/25/2011 29 MINUTE entry before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall: MOTION by counsel


for Plaintiff Vincent Peters to withdraw as attorney 27 is granted. Tiffany D.
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Gehrke is given leave to withdraw her appearance. Mailed notice (tsa, )


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(Entered: 01/25/2011)
02/10/2011 30 MOTION by Plaintiff Vincent Peters for leave to file Recently Decided
Additional Authority (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit A)(McGrath, William)
(Entered: 02/10/2011)
02/11/2011 31 NOTICE of Motion by William T. McGrath for presentment of motion for
leave to file 30 before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall on 2/17/2011 at 09:00
AM. (McGrath, William) (Entered: 02/11/2011)
02/15/2011 32 MINUTE entry before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall: MOTION by Plaintiff
Vincent Peters for leave to file Recently Decided Additional Authority 30 is
granted.Mailed notice (tsa, ) (Entered: 02/15/2011)
03/03/2011 33 MINUTE entry before Honorable Virginia M. Kendall: Enter
MEMORANDUM, OPINION AND ORDER: For the reasons stated, the Court
grants Wests Motion to Dismiss. Civil case terminated. Mailed notice (tsa, )

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(Entered: 03/03/2011)
03/03/2011 34 MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Virginia M.
Kendall on 3/3/2011.(tsa, ) (Entered: 03/03/2011)
03/03/2011 35 ENTERED JUDGMENT (tsa, ) (Entered: 03/03/2011)
03/25/2011 36 PAYMENT by Vincent Peters of Filing fee $ 455, receipt number 0752-
5835863. (McGrath, William) (Entered: 03/25/2011)
03/25/2011 37 NOTICE of appeal by Vincent Peters regarding orders 35 (McGrath, William)
(Entered: 03/25/2011)
03/25/2011 38 DOCKETING Statement by Vincent Peters regarding notice of appeal 37
(McGrath, William) (Entered: 03/25/2011)
03/25/2011 39 NOTICE of Appeal Due letter sent to counsel of record (dj, ) (Entered:
03/25/2011)
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