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Curington and Brooks v. UMG Recordings, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-12-2011
Case #: 1:10-cv-890
U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina; Before: Eagles
Full Text Opinion: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/north-carolina/ncmdce/1:2010cv00890/55303/63/

Copyright: Registration of a copyright is a precondition to filing a claim of copyright infringement, without which, the claim is subject to dismissal.

For Full Opinion:
2011 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 90343
2011 WL 3568278

Opinion (Eagles): Curington and Brooks filed a Second Amended Complaint in which they alleged that UMG Recordings, Inc. infringed their copyright in a particular sound recording of the song "Last Night Changed It All." Registration of a copyright is a precondition to filing a claim. If the copyright is not registered, the action is subject to dismissal upon the defendant's 12(b)(6) motion. A party seeking to recover for copyright infringement must allege and prove two elements: (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of constituent elements of the work that are original. Copyright protection is available for songs in two distinct contexts: musical works and sound recordings, which are not the same thing for copyright purposes. A copyright in one is not a copyright in the other. Since there was no registration attached to the Second Amended Complaint for the sound recording, which is what Curington and Brooks alleged had been infringed, the court found that they had not adequately alleged facts to support their claim of registration and ownership of a copyright in a particular sound recording of the song "Last Night Changed It All." Thus, the court GRANTED UMG Recordings, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss.