Singers Sue Label For Failing To Sue Others For Infringement

from the sue-or-be-sued dept

Techdirt has covered many copyright lawsuits in the past, but this one is a bit different. Singers Daryl Hall and John Oates have filed a suit against their publisher, Warner/Chappell Music, who they claim have failed to enforce their rights and sue an unnamed singer-songwriter for infringement. They claim this is in breach of their contract, and are seeking the termination of said contract as well as unspecified damages.

Two things strike me about this lawsuit (although I'm not a lawyer and haven't seen the contract, so take it for what it's worth). First, though the alleged infringer isn't named, there seem to be two possibilities given they date it as 2006 - Nelly Furtado's Maneater was apparently influenced by it, and it was sampled by the Ying Yang Twins in their song Dangerous. I would have hoped both of these would be covered by fair use -- Oates in fact said of the former, "it's flattering and it makes you feel good because you think you've influenced a new generation of musicians." The second is that litigation should be a tool of last resort, and a lawsuit over someone not suing isn't exactly in line with that sentiment.

In fairness to Hall and Oates, their reasoning for the filing is that Warner/Chappell have failed to act over a "conflict of interest", which implies the publishers were benefiting from the alleged infringement and failing to pass that benefit on. Still, the idea that a label could be liable for failing to sue for copyright infringement is hardly likely to improve the litigation-happy nature of the industry at present.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Maybe Hall and Oates are filing suit because they want out of the contract more than anything else.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    ^AC^ FTW!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    You beat me too it...that's my guess as well. It is simply a tactic to get out from under a burdensome contract.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    After all this time, I am surprised they still have a contract!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 9:40am

    Is it known if Nelly Furtado or Ying Yang Twins are represented by Warner/Chappell Music? Wouldn't that be a key component to benefiting from the alleged infringement? What other way could they benefit without passing it on?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Solacetech, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 9:45am

    Samples=Fair use?

    Since when has sampling fallen under fair use? *grabbing turntable and firing up pro tools*

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    BPL, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 9:56am

    Ah, leave Hall and Oates alone. They're family men. And their bark is much worse than their bite. (Sorry, had to.)

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Matt, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Re:

    my thoughts exactly. If they're allowed to do so, I can imagine a ton of artists are going to run like hell from their labels claiming the same.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 11:02am

    And techdirt readers continue to show their ignorance about publishing. Continue talking it is entertaining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Grae, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    And anonymous cowards continue showing their ignorance about commenting on Techdirt. Because I said so. With nothing to back it up. Please continue, it is entertaining.

    See what I did there?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Samples=Fair use?

    We can sample unpurchased music?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re:

    You left out your last name and your home address and telephone number and email and myspace page?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Mark Rosedale (profile), Nov 20th, 2008 @ 12:45pm

    Wow

    Doesn't get any better than this. Is this what the music industry is coming down to sue sue sue! If you aren't making enough money than just sue! What a world we live in.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Grae, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What is this? A weak attempt at demeaning me? Nice ad hominem. Why don't you come back when you have something of substance to offer?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Douglas Gresham, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Samples=Fair use?

    I have no idea whether they qualify as fair use under current US law (I'm neither a lawyer nor American); I just think they're the kind of things that should be fair use.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Douglas Gresham, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, I think that's a distinct possibility. The effect is the same whatever their motivations, though, and that's the bit that's interesting - although of course motivations would play a big part in the number of future actions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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