The Second Circuit today barred a copyright co-owner from going back in time to kill another co-owner’s infringement claims.  The case involved two songs — "L.O.V.E." and "Don’t Trade in My Love" — versions of which hip-hop soul singer Mary J. Blige recorded on a triple platinum album, No More Drama.  Sharice Davis sued Ms. Blige and others, but the district court held that a retroactive license by Ms. Davis’s co-author, Bruce Chambliss, to Bruce Miller defeated her infringement claims.  The Second Circuit reversed:

Inasmuch as the alleged retroactive agreements purporting to transfer Chambliss’s copyright interests to Miller could not also transfer Davis’s copyright interests, Davis’s accrued causes of action for infringement were not affected by the agreement between Chambliss and Miller.  Accordingly, the District Court erred in granting summary judgment to defendants.

Davis v. Blige, No. 05-6844 (2d Cir. Oct. 5, 2007).

Barry Barnett

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