Indianapolis, Indiana — Broadcast Music, Inc. of New York, New York (“BMI”) has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that SC Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Blu and Shawn Cannon (“Cannon”), both of Indianapolis, Indiana, infringed the copyrighted works LAST NIGHT A D.J. SAVED MY LIFE, SHOW ME LOVE, and I’LL BE AROUND which have been registered by the U.S. Copyright Office. Five other Plaintiffs,Comart Music, EMI Virgin Songs, Inc. dba EMI Longitude Music, EMI Blackwood Music, Inc, Song A Tron Music, and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corporation, are also listed in the complaint.
Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) is a “performing rights society” under 17 U.S.C. § 101 that operates on a non-profit-making basis and licenses the right to publicly perform copyrighted musical works on behalf of the copyright owners of these works. The other Plaintiffs in this action are the copyright owners of the three compositions at issue in this lawsuit.
SC Entertainment is an Indiana limited liability company that operates Blu, an establishment which is asserted to publicly perform musical compositions and/or cause musical compositions to be publicly performed.
BMI asserts that Cannon is a member of SC Entertainment and that he has primary responsibility for the operation and management of the company and of Blu. Cannon also allegedly has the right and ability to supervise the activities of SC Entertainment and a direct financial interest in the company and in Blu.
BMI and the other Plaintiffs, via copyright counsel, have asserted willful copyright infringement of the three copyrights-in-suit in their complaint. They further claim that the Defendants’ entire course of conduct, including the ongoing unauthorized public performances of the copyrighted works, has caused and is continuing to cause the Plaintiffs great and incalculable damage.
The Copyright Act empowers a plaintiff to elect to receive an award of statutory damages between $750 and $30,000 per infringement in lieu of an award representing the plaintiffs’ actual damages and/or the defendants’ profits. In a case where the copyright owner proves that infringement was committed willfully, the court may increase the award of statutory damages to as much as $150,000 per infringed work. A finding of willful infringement will also support an award of attorney’s fees.
Furthermore, not only is the performer liable for infringement, but so is anyone who sponsors the performance. A corporate officer will be found jointly and severally liable with his corporation for copyright infringement if he (1) had the right and ability to supervise the infringing activity, and (2) has a direct financial interest in such activities.
This complaint was filed by Peter J. Prettyman of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP. The case was assigned to District Judge Richard L. Young and Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore in the Southern District of Indiana and assigned Case No. 1:13-cv-1678-RLY-MJD.