A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Rules That Only a Single Award of Statutory Damages Is Allowed to Separate Owners of Musical Composition and Sound Recording

In an April 7, 2014 ruling, Judge William H. Pauley III explained his trial ruling “that where two different owners hold respective copyrights in the musical composition and sound recording of the infringed work, they must share a single award of statutory damages.” The Court reasoned that when the defendants “infringed the copyright covering a sound recording and musical composition for the same song, they infringed only one work because the infringement was directed at the sound recording and the musical composition was not exploited.” The Court noted that had the separate owners sued separately, “they may of course collect separately ‘as long as the infringer’s liability on these statutory damages does not exceed the amount provided in Section 504(c)’” of the Copyright Act.
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