Contraffazione musicale (negata) dal distretto sud di New York

Mark Jaffe dà notizia di South. Distr. of New York 24 marzo 2023, Case 1:21-cv-04047-VM, EMELIKE NWOSUOCHA c. DONALD MCKINLEY GLOVER II,

Interessante esame delle questioni proprie delle liti su copyright musicale nella sentenza in esame: questioni sempre ostiche per chi non conosce teoria o almeno tecnica musicale.

Il problema di solito -e pure qui- è quello di individuare le parti non originali di una composizione, le quali non sono proteggibili.

In generale:

<<Thus, “copyright protects only that which is original,” and “does not protect ideas, only their expression.” McDonald, 138 F. Supp. 3d at 455. “This principle excludes from copyright the raw materials of art, like colors, letters, descriptive facts, and standard geometric forms, as well as previous creative works that have fallen into the public domain,” and “[i]t likewise excludes the basic building blocks of music, including tempo and individual notes.” Id. at 454 (collecting cases). Further, “words and short phrases, including titles and slogans, rarely if ever exhibit sufficient originality to warrant copyright protection,” and “[l]onger phrases are also not protectable if they are common or cliché.” Id. Similarly, “common rhythms, song structures, and harmonic progressions are not protected” and “[t]hemes fall into the category of uncopyrightable ideas.” Id. at 454-55. Still, “a work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectible elements,” because “the original way in which the author has selected, coordinated, and arranged the elements of his or her work” is protectible. Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd. (Inc.), 71 F.3d 996, 1003-04 (2d Cir. 1995) (internal quotation marks omitted)>>

In aprticolare nel caso sub iudice:

<<Additionally, the parties agree, and the Court concurs, that the Complaint does not allege infringement of the “overall structure of the songs, order, and number of verse and chorus sections,” or the “instrumentation,” “musical notes,” or “musical production.”5 (See Opposition at 2-6; Memorandum at 4-6; Complaint ¶¶ 39-40.)
The Court finds that the “distinct and unique vocal cadence, delivery, rhythm, timing, phrasing, meter and/or pattern” or “flow” as well as the “lyrical theme” and “structure” of the chorus in Plaintiff’s Composition lack sufficient originality alone, or as combined, to merit compositional copyright protection or are categorically ineligible for copyright protection. (Complaint ¶ 39.) For instance, Nwosuocha asserts copyright over the “lyrical theme” of Plaintiff’s Composition, but a lyrical theme is simply an idea, and ideas are not protectable. Moreover, the idea of a boastful rapper is certainly not original to Nwosuocha.
The Court further finds that although the “content” of the chorus of Plaintiff’s Composition, which the Court understands to mean the lyrics, bears sufficient originality to merit compositional protection, a cursory comparison with the Challenged Composition reveals that the content of the choruses is entirely different and not substantially similar.6 As noted previously, the “question of substantial similarity is by no means exclusively reserved for resolution by a jury” and the Second Circuit has “repeatedly recognized that, in certain circumstances, it is entirely appropriate for a district court to resolve that question as a matter of law, either because the similarity between two works concerns only non-copyrightable elements of the plaintiff’s work, or because no reasonable jury, properly instructed, could find that the two works are substantially similar.” Peter F. Gaito, 602 F.3d at 63. Here, no reasonable jury, properly instructed, could find that the lyrics of the chorus of Plaintiff’s Composition and the chorus of the Challenged Composition are substantially similar>>.

Si tratta però di esame ultroneo , condotto dalal corte senza necessità, dato che l’opera nmon era stata retgistrata come richeide il diritto usa per aver tutela in corte. O meglio -particolare assi imporante- l’attore aveva registrato solo il fonogramma (sound recording) e  non l’opera muscia /musical registration): inadempimeot palese del suo consulente IP .