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In Copyright Infringement Action, U.S. Supreme Court Review Sought To Determine Damages When Profits Are Fixed, Such As In A WrestleMania Event

Anthony Dash, a musician, asserted that he was entitled to damages for copyright infringement after Floyd Mayweather, Jr.  used a song written by Dash when he entered an arena during a WrestleMania XXIV event. Dash contended that he was never informed that the song, with lyrics added, was going to be used and he was not paid for the use of his material. He sought both injunctive relief and damages pursuant to the Copyright Infringement Act, specifically 17 USCS § 504. In Dash v. Mayweather, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66003 (D.S.C. May 11, 2012), the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina determined that Dash was not entitled to damages under § 504 because he failed to prove that the song as changed increased any revenues and he did not show the value of his song. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed in Dash v. Mayweather, 731 F.3d 303 (4th Cir. S.C. 2013) and affirmed the dismissal of the action.

Dash filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court that contended that proof of enhanced profits was not actually required by the statute in question and therefore his action was improperly dismissed. DASH v. MAYWEATHER, 2013 U.S. Briefs 867 (U.S. Jan. 21, 2014) He claimed that he adequately gave proof of the value of his work in a report filed by an expert and that that evidence was sufficient to show damages. He also asserted that the Fourth Circuit’s ruling created a multi-circuit conflict that had to be settled.

In their opposition briefs, both the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and the other appellees to the action disagreed. DASH v. MAYWEATHER, 2013 U.S. Briefs 867 (U.S. Feb. 21, 2014)  and DASH v. MAYWEATHER, 2013 U.S. Briefs 867 (U.S. Feb. 19, 2014). Appellees claimed that 17 U.S.C. § 504 was properly applied and that no inconsistency was created by the Circuit Court’s ruling. They noted that the profits in question here were fixed and therefore it was accurately stated that there was no connection between the profits and the infringement.

 On reply, DASH v. MAYWEATHER, 2013 U.S. Briefs 867 (U.S. Mar. 4, 2014), Dash again argued that the Fourth Circuit’s ruling created a conflict between circuits and that the ruling created an unacceptable burden on those attempting to prove damages in a copyright case. He asked for Supreme Court review of his case. 

The case has been distributed for conference of March 28, 2014.

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