Broadcast Music, Inc. v. Diamond Investment, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright, Infringement
  • Date Filed: 04-17-2013
  • Case #: 1:11-CV—927-SEB-DKL
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: U.S. District Court, S. D. of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
  • Full Text Opinion

Exclusive rights to a performance are violated when someone owns a valid copyright and the copyrighted content is distributed without the owner's authorization.

Opinion (Barker): Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) is a “performing rights society” that licenses the right to publicly perform copyrighted musical works on behalf of the copyright owners. Prior to February 2010, BMI discovered that Diamond Investments, Inc. (“Diamond”) and its manager, Salvatore Mazza (“Mazza”), had been operating a business called The Juke Box Live, which offered musical entertainment without a license from BMI or the permission from the copyright owners of the music. BMI attempted to enter into a license agreement with Diamond for the public performances but Diamond refused. Receiving no response from Diamond, BMI eventually instituted an action for copyright infringement against Diamond, and moved for summary judgment. Under the Copyright Act, the owner of the copyright has exclusive rights to authorize others to perform, and any person who violates that right is an infringer. In this case, BMI need establish that they were the ownership of a valid copyright and that Diamond copied constituent elements of the work that are original. The court found sufficient evidence of BMI’s ownership of the music via registration dates and certificates, satisfying the first element. Diamond was also found to have publicly played or distributed copies of the music without the owner’s authorization, satisfying the second element. Having satisfied both elements, the court found BMI entitled to judgment against Diamond, in the form of damages for willful infringement, attorney’s fees, post-judgment interest, and an injunction preventing Diamond from subsequent infringement. Accordingly, the court GRANTED BMI’s motion for summary judgment.

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