Copyright and Trademark
- In May 2017, Susman Godfrey, along with co-counsel, secured a $43.45 million cash fund and an agreement to pay future royalties to settle a class-action lawsuit with Spotify brought on behalf of music copyright owners. The suit alleged that Spotify made music available online without securing mechanical rights from the tracks' composers. Under the agreement terms, Spotify will establish a $43.45 million settlement fund from which qualifying class members will receive compensation for past streaming or downloads of their compositions. Spotify also agreed to pay future royalties calculated at the statutory rate for songs streamed by the service, and make its track database available for claimants. In addition, Spotify is responsible for all costs associated with the administration and management of the settlement fund and notice, which adds an additional $1 million to $2 million in benefits alone.
In February 2017, Susman Godfrey won a $2.3 million jury verdict for Internet Marketing Company, WickFire, in WickFire LLC v. TriMax Media LLC et al. A federal jury in Austin, Texas awarded the full requested amount in damages, while rejecting a $22 million counterclaim filed against WickFire, in its lawsuit with competitor TriMax. Susman Godfrey successfully proved to the jury that the owner of TriMax violated the Lanham Act and tortuously interfered with WickFire’s client contracts.
Susman Godfrey represents Flo & Eddie, members of the 1960’s rock group The Turtles, in addition to a class of copyright owners in a case against Sirius XM in the Central District of California. In this landmark case it was established under California law, that owners of sound recordings from before 1972 have the exclusive right to perform those recordings. This case confirmed that owners of “oldies” sound recordings cannot have their music performed for free/without their consent. Under a groundbreaking settlement, this class of owners will be compensated up to $40 million for their past performances and up to another $59 million in future royalties from Sirius XM through 2028 -- the highest running royalty any direct licensor has obtained for pre 1972 sound recordings. The case is set to be tried in several other states and against other broadcasters.
- Susman Godfrey represents Melissa Ferrick and a class of various songwriters in a copyright class action against Spotify in Los Angeles Superior Court. The class is seeking $200 million in damages based on allegations that Spotify has failed to pay royalties to songwriters whose compositions were distributed through Spotify.
- The firm obtained an award in which the arbitrator rejected the other side's claims for more than $500 million under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and copyright law and injunctive relief in a case involving database software. The arbitrator found that the other side committed fraud and awarded our client $1.5 million in damages.Susman Godfrey obtained a declaratory judgment that a trademark asserted against its client was invalid. The court ordered cancellation of the trademark and enjoined defendant from initiating or pursuing infringement litigation against plaintiff or its customers, dealers, agents or employees based on the federally registered trademark or any claimed common law rights related thereto.
- Susman Godfrey won the appeal of a trial court's order granting summary judgment for their client, IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. ("ICE"), in a copyright infringement case brought by the New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. ("NYMEX") in federal court in New York. NYMEX claimed that ICE violated its intellectual property rights and sued for copyright infringement, service mark infringement, violation of the federal and New York State Anti-Dilution statutes, and tortuous interference with contract. NYMEX sought tens of millions of dollars in damages and an order barring ICE from referencing NYMEX settlement prices. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of all of NYMEX's claims against ICE.