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Dash v. Mayweather

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
731 F.3d 303 (2013)


Facts

Anthony Dash (plaintiff) composed several instrumental tracks. One track was called “Tony Gunz Beat,” sometimes called TGB. Although some of Dash’s compositions were used in video games, he never sold or licensed any of his works. Floyd Mayweather (defendant), a boxer, wrote and recorded lyrics over music similar to “Tony Gunz Beat,” calling this new song “Yep.” Mayweather appeared in two Wrestlemania events produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) (defendant). In both appearances, Mayweather entered the wrestling arena with “Yep” blaring. Dash sued Mayweather and WWE for copyright infringement, seeking: (1) to stop Mayweather from using “Yep,” (2) actual damages from lost licensing fees, and (3) disgorgement of the profits that Mayweather and WWE had made from infringing on Dash’s music. Mayweather moved for partial summary judgment, alleging that Dash was not entitled to actual or profit damages under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 504(b). Dash submitted an expert report from economist Michael Einhorn saying that the WWE had paid licensing fees from $3,000 to much higher for music from famous artists. Accordingly, Einhorn determined that Dash’s actual damages from lost licensing fees were $3,000. Einhorn also combined the WWE’s and Mayweather’s profits related to Mayweather’s Wrestlemania appearances and determined that Dash’s profit damages were $1,019,226. The district court granted Mayweather’s motion. For actual damages, the court found that: (1) Dash had failed to show that “Tony Gunz Beat” had any market value because Dash had never sold any of his music and (2) the amounts that WWE had paid for other music licenses were not comparable. For profit damages, the court found that Dash had failed to show any link between Mayweather’s use of “Yep” and increased profits at the Wrestlemania events. Dash appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Davis J.)

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