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Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Publishing
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
512 F.3d 522 (2008)
Leadsinger, Inc. (plaintiff) manufactured a karaoke device described as an all-in-one microphone with song recordings embedded in a microchip of the microphone. The microphone required the use of a television, but once plugged in, the lyrics of a song would appear on screen in real time as the recording of the song, enabling the consumer to sing along. Leadsinger sometimes also included with the microphone printed copies of the lyrics to the song recordings embedded in the microchip. BMG Music Publishing (defendant) had issued to Leadsinger compulsory mechanical licenses to copyrighted song recordings under § 115 of the Copyright Act, but, in addition to the mechanical fees required to secure such licenses, BMG demanded that Leadsinger pay a lyric-reprint fee and a synchronization fee. Leadsinger refused to pay these additional fees and sought a declaration that it was entitled to print or display song lyrics in real time with song recordings without holding more than the § 115 compulsory mechanical licenses it already possessed. The district court found to the contrary and dismissed Leadsinger’s complaint. Leadsinger appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Smith, Jr., J.)
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