Dash v. Mayweather

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright, Infringement
  • Date Filed: 09-23-2013
  • Case #: No. 12-1899
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19675
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 5365967
  • Full Text Opinion

When a musician has never sold or licensed a copyright holding, relying on established artist's damages for similar misuse was too speculative.

Opinion (Davis): Anthony Lawrence Dash ("Dash") sued Floyd Mayweather, Jr. ("Mayweather"), et al. for copyright infringement for using a song that was derived from Dash's original work on Wrestlemania XXIV, a pay-per-view event. The trial court granted summary judgement to Mayweather on the basis that Dash's claim for damages and expert opinion on the amount of damages were too speculative, and therefore non-recoverable. On appeal, Dash relied on the "lost licensing fee" theory, which states that evidence of a copyright holder's prior licensing can provide guidance and support for his actual damages claim. However, as Dash had not ever sold or licensed his music or copyright holdings before, the court found that Mayweather had not taken anything of value from Dash. The court also found that the expert report that Dash relied upon to compute his damages used established artists and the fees paid to them was not applicable to Dash, as Dash was not similarly situated to the artists used by the report to compute damages. Because the court found that the damages were too speculative, the judgment of the trial court was AFFIRMED.

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