Lamothe v. Atlantic Recording Corp.

847 F.2d 1403 (1988)

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Lamothe v. Atlantic Recording Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
847 F.2d 1403 (1988)

Facts

Three musicians who were part of the same band, Robert Lamothe (plaintiff), Ronald Jones, and Robinson Crosby, wrote two songs together, “Scene of the Crime” and “I’m Insane.” The band later broke up, and Crosby joined a new group called RATT. While a member of this new band, Crosby and band member Juan Croucier licensed the two songs that Crosby had coauthored with Lamothe and Jones, and the two songs were further sublicensed to Atlantic Recording Corp. (Atlantic) (defendant). In 1984 Atlantic released an album for RATT that contained the two songs that Crosby had written with Lamothe and Jones. Owing to the album’s popularity, sheet music was also released for all songs on the album by another sublicensee. The album and the sheet music attributed the music and lyrics of “I’m Insane” to Crosby alone. The music and lyrics of “Scene of the Crime” were attributed to Crosby and Croucier. Lamothe and Jones received no attribution for their contribution to either song. Lamothe and Jones filed a claim in federal district court for violation of the Lanham Act, which targeted unfair competition in the context of interstate commerce. The court granted summary judgment to Atlantic and the other defendants. Lamothe and Jones appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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