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Judge 'gotta feeling' that case against musicians wasn't sound

In 2009, the Black Eye Peas released the hit “I Gotta Feeling,” further elevating the band’s status and bringing with it considerable fame and fortune. But according to a 2010 lawsuit, certain elements of the song were allegedly stolen from a 1999 dance version of the song “Take a Dive,” which meant litigation and the possibility of negative fallout for the band and its song.

But there were two major flaws in the copyright infringement lawsuit, ruled a federal court judge. And with an affirmation of this decision from the 9th Circuit Court, those named as defendants in the case were able to request reimbursement for attorney’s fees.

As was pointed out by the federal judge, one of the major flaws of the case revolved around the copyright itself. According to Brian Pringle, who is named as the plaintiff in the case, the Peas infringed on his dance version of “Take a Dive” and therefore owed him compensation. But as court records show, the copyright registration for the song was not filed until after the lawsuit had been filed, meaning there was no official copyright to infringe upon.

The other problem with Pringle’s claim was the fact that the version he submitted for registration was not the original 1999 dance version of the song, which made it even more difficult to prove that infringement had occurred.

If this case highlights anything for our readers here in California it’s the fact that if you are going to file a copyright infringement lawsuit, you must be able to backup your claims with the appropriate documentation and on an applicable timeline. The same is true for those accused of infringement as well. You should be prepared to defend yourself against the accusations, which may require help from an attorney in the process.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Will.i.am Gets Costs in Copyright Case,” Matt Reynolds, July 28, 2014

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