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United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
August 10, 2020, Decided; August 10, 2020, Filed
[*267] MEMORANDUM OPINION
Lewis A. Kaplan, District Judge.
In the music recording industry, artists commonly sign agreements with record labels in which the artists agree that the companies will own the copyright to sound recordings made pursuant to those agreements. These grants allow the companies to distribute and sell the artists' sound recordings.
[*268] Section 203 of the Copyright Act of 1976 provides an author a right to terminate such a grant of copyright thirty-five years after the grant's execution, or forty years thereafter if the grant covers the right of publication, if certain conditions are met.1 As the Court has explained previously, "[t]ermination is not automatic. The earlier grant will remain in effect absent a termination notice. . . . Upon the effective date of termination [listed [**2] in the notice], the grant is terminated and the, copyright reverts to the author."2
Plaintiffs allege that defendant has ignored their valid termination notices and has continued to market and sell plaintiffs' sound recordings following the effective dates of termination, thereby infringing upon their copyrights. In a prior opinion, familiarly with which is assumed, the Court granted in part and denied in part defendant's motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("FAC").3 Plaintiffs now move to amend their complaint in order to add additional parties, assert infringement claims with respect to the sound recordings identified previously in the FAC for which the effective dates of termination now have passed, "streamline and refine" their class allegations, and cure the deficiencies identified in the Court's ruling on the motion to dismiss.
Defendant objects to the following aspects of the Proposed Second Amended Complaint ("PSAC"): (1) joinder of three additional named plaintiffs, (2) joinder of Capitol Records, LLC ("Capitol"), a UMG affiliate, as a defendant, (3) allegations that plaintiffs John Waite and Joe Ely made certain grants directly, rather than [**3] through or by third parties, (4) allegations concerning Ely's 1976 agreement, known as a "gap grant," and (5) clarification of the alleged need for declaratory relief.
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477 F. Supp. 3d 265 *; 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143419 **; Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P31,706; 2020 WL 4586893
JOHN WAITE, etc., et al., Plaintiffs, -against- UMG RECORDINGS, INC., etc., et al., Defendants.
Prior History: Waite v. Umg Recordings, Inc., 450 F. Supp. 3d 430, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56198 (S.D.N.Y., Mar. 31, 2020)
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