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Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films

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Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films

Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films
Court United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Full case name Bridgeport Music, Inc., et al. v. Dimension Films, et al.
Decided June 3, 2005
Citation(s) 410 F.3d 792
Case history
Prior action(s) 230 F. Supp. 2d 830 (M.D.Tenn. 2002) (granting summary judgment for defendant), rev'd, 383 F.3d 390 (6th Cir. 2004), rehearing granted in part and opinion amended, 401 F.3d 647 (6th Cir. 2004)
Case opinions
district court erroneously granted summary judgment for defendant on claim for copyright infringement based on fact that defendant's copying of plaintiff's copyrighted sound recording was merely de minimis. Court of Appeals rejects de minimis defense to claim for copyright infringement of a sound recording.
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Ralph B. Guy, Jr., Ronald Lee Gilman, and Judith M. Barzilay (sitting by designation)

Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films, 410 F.3d 792 (6th Cir. 2005), is a court case that has proved important in defining American copyright law for recorded music. The case centered on N.W.A.’s song "100 Miles and Runnin’" and Funkadelic's "Get Off Your Ass and Jam". Essentially, N.W.A. sampled a two-second guitar chord from Funkadelic's tune, lowered the pitch and looped it five times in their song. This was all done without Funkadelic's permission and with no compensation paid to Bridgeport Music, which claims to own the rights to Funkadelic's music.

Bridgeport brought the issue before a federal judge, who ruled that the incident was not in violation of copyright law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the decision and ruled that the sampling was in violation of copyright law. Their argument was that with a sound recording, an owner of the copyright on a work had exclusive right to duplicate the work. Under this interpretation of the copyright law, usage of any section of a work, regardless of length, would be in violation of copyright unless the copyright owner gave permission. In its decision, the court wrote: "Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way."

This decision effectively eliminates the de minimis doctrine for digitally sampling recorded music in the Sixth Circuit, and has affected industry practice. However, the court expressly noted that the decision did not preclude the availability of other defenses, such as fair use, even in the context of "sampling." Thus, in the Sixth Circuit, defendants who digitally sampled may not rely on the de minimis doctrine to say that they copied such a small amount that they are not liable for copyright infringement.

However, they may still argue that their use of the sample is still a fair use—that is, that the use is transformative, for noncommercial purpose, copied only a small amount, the original had a thin copyright, or the copying did not harm the market for the original work or its derivatives.

New York University musicologist and sampling expert Lawrence Ferrara describes the effects of the Bridgeport case on sample-based music as, "extremely chilling, because it basically says that whatever you sample has to be licensed, in its most extreme interpretation."[1]

The case is also influential in the rest of the world: on November 20, 2008, the electronic pioneers Kraftwerk were successful in a landmark case "Metall Auf Metall"[2] in the Federal Court of Justice of Germany (Bundesgerichtshof, abbreviated BGH), which quotes Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films and decided that even the smallest shreds of sounds are copyrightable and that the sampling of a drum beat can be copyright infringement. Under German law, however, this results de lege lata. The BGH only mentioned the Bridgeport case without discussing it.[3]

Nevertheless, not every court has been persuaded by the logic of Bridgeport, at least one U.S. District Court having expressly rejected its reasoning.[4] For their part, the other Circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals have yet to accept or reject the Bridgeport precedent.

Footnotes


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ McLeod and DiCola. Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling. p. 143.
  2. ^
  3. ^ For a comparison of Bridgeport and Metall auf Metall see ; Apel, Simon, Der ausübende Musiker im Recht Deutschlands und der USA, pp. 299 et seq., 311 et seq. (Mohr Siebeck:Tübingen 2011) and
  4. ^ Saregama India Ltd. v. Mosley, 687 F.Supp.2d 1325 (S.D.Fla. 2009), affirmed on other grounds, Saregama India Ltd. v. Mosley, 635 F.3d 1284 (11th Cir. 2011).

External links

  • Tim Wu, Slate, Nov. 16, 2006, "Jay-Z Versus The Sampling Troll: The Shady One-Man Corporation That's Destroying Hip-Hop"
  • Full Text of Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films from FindLaw.
  • Works related to Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films at Wikisource
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