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Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
410 F.3d 792 (2005)


Facts

The song 100 Miles and Runnin (100 Miles) was licensed by its copyright owner to No Limit Films (No Limit) (defendant) for use in the soundtrack for the movie I Got the Hook Up (Hook Up). 100 Miles sampled the song Get Off Your Ass and Jam (Get Off) by George Clinton, Jr. and the Funkadelics, for which the original copyright owners had obtained a sample use license. 100 Miles uses two seconds of a guitar solo from Get Off by lowering the pitch of the sample and looping it for seven seconds. The sampled portion of the song uses an uncommon technique called an arpeggiated chord, and the ultimate sound was distinctive. The same sample is used in five places throughout 100 Miles. Bridgeport Music, Incorporated (Bridgeport) and Westbound (plaintiffs) claimed to hold the composition and sound recording copyrights to Get Off. Bridgeport sued No Limit for copyright infringement. The district court held that Bridgeport’s claims against No Limit were barred by the sample use license granted for the use of Get Off in 100 Miles and an oral synchronization license for use of 100 Miles in Hook Up. Further, the district court found that no reasonable jury would recognize the appropriation of Get Off in 100 Miles, and the use was therefore de minimis.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Guy, J.)

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