Greg Kihn is a musician best known for his 1983 hit song, “Jeopardy.” In 2017, he (and his publishing company) filed suit against Bill Graham Archives, LLC, which did business as Wolfgang’s Vault. Wolfgang’s Vault is a website where visitors could, for a fee, access thousands of live musical performances from the 1950s to the 1990s. Mr. Kihn’s complaint alleged violations of federal copyright and anti-bootlegging laws. He sought to bring these claims of a class of other performers similarly situated.
Continue Reading Copyright Infringement and Class Certification Issues

The IP Law Blog has been tracking the progress of the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the writers of “Playas Gon’ Play” by the girl group 3LW (released in 2001).  (See “Taylor Swift Keeps Fighting the ‘Players’ and the ‘Haters’” and “Hall v. Swift: Nothing Original About a Player Hater”.) Hall and Butler allege that Swift’s lyrics in “Shake It Off” (“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”) infringe on their song (“Playa, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate”).
Continue Reading Taylor Swift to Face Trial in “Shake it Off” Copyright Infringement Case Filed by Writers of 3LW’s “Playas Gon’ Play”

The Ninth Circuit was recently asked to determine whether to continue to apply the Circuit’s two-part extrinsic/intrinsic test for “substantial similarity” with regard to a copyright infringement claim or to depart from this approach and apply the Second Circuit’s “ordinary observer” test instead. In Johannsongs-Publishing, Ltd. v. Lovland, an unpublished opinion issued on November 29, 2021, the Ninth Circuit declined to depart from its precedence and affirmed summary judgment in favor of defendants who were accused of copyright infringement in connection with the song You Raise Me Up.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Refuses to Adopt “Ordinary Observer” Test for Substantial Similarity and Copyright Infringement