TufAmerica, Inc. v. Diamond

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright, CLAIM ACCRUAL UNDER 17 U.S.C. § 507(b)
  • Date Filed: 09-10-2013
  • Case #: 12 Civ. 3529(AJN)
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129128
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 4830954
  • Full Text Opinion

The injury rule is the appropriate rubric to determine when a claim accrues under the Copyright Act.

Opinion (Nathan): TufAmerica, Inc., ("TufAmerica") licensee of the musical group Trouble Funk's copyrighted songs, brought suit against the members of the musical group the Beastie Boys and various companies involved in publishing the Beastie Boys’ music. (collectively "The Beastie Boys") TufAmerica claimed copyright infringement for five Beastie Boys songs, which contain samples from four Trouble Funk songs. Because short clips of Trouble Funk's songs were used, the court determined that samples constituted "fragmented literal similarity" and even though the clips were only seconds long, they were actual samples of the original work and so satisfied the substantial similarity test. The court held that the injury rule is the appropriate rubric to use to determine the accrual of an infringement claim under the Copyright Act and therefore limited TufAmerica’s claims to the alleged acts of infringement that happened within three years of the filing of this action. The motion to dismiss by the Beastie Boys was GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

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