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Grand Upright Music Ltd. v. Warner Brothers Records, Inc.
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
780 F. Supp. 182 (1991)
Raymond “Gilbert” O’Sullivan was a songwriter who wrote the song “Alone Again (Naturally).” The original copyright holder, NAM Music, Inc. transferred the copyrights of the song to Grand Upright Music, Ltd. (plaintiff), and certificates of copyright were obtained. NAM Music subsequently dissolved. Rapper Biz Markie (defendant) sampled O’Sullivan’s song on his song “Alone Again.” Biz Markie had contacted O’Sullivan and his agent seeking to obtain a license to the copyrighted song. Neither O’Sullivan nor any other entity granted the license. However, Biz Markie’s label, Cold Chillin’ Records, released the album containing the song sample anyway. Grand Upright filed an order to show cause to obtain a preliminary injunction barring Biz Markie and his label from releasing the unlicensed sampling. Biz Markie argued that the certificate of copyright was not authenticated and that there was no evidence that Grand Upright was the true copyright owner. Thus, Biz Markie asserted that he did not have to obtain a license to sample O’Sullivan’s song.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Duffy, J.)
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