Harley v. Nesby

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 04-30-2012
  • Case #: 08 civ. 5791
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Katherine B. Forrest, United States District Judge

Circumstantial evidence of access plus substantial similarities can show actual copying

Opinion (Forrest): Peggy Harley (Harley) brought suit against Ann Nesby (Nesby), alleging that Nesby’s song “I Apologize” infringed Harley’s song “It Will Never Happen Again.” In 2006, Harley met with Vaughn Harper, and gave him a press kit containing five copies of the infringed song. Nesby did not deny that Harper then gave a copy to Nesby. Nesby wrote “I Apologize” in 2007. After listening to the songs, the Court found that the songs had substantially similar lyrics, and a strong thematic likeness. Finding both access and substantial similarity, the court GRANTED Harley’s motion for summary judgment.

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