Songwriter files $20M claim over copyright law

Artists often consider their work to be a part of themselves. When they create a song, a photograph or another kind of artistic piece, they generally want the ability to control how that art is made available for public consumption. The artistic community is thriving here in New York, and it is important that artists have the ability to protect themselves and the art they create through copyright law. Recently, songwriter Kenny Nolan has filed a civil suit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing, claiming breach of contract and copyright infringement. He claims that several of his songs were acquired by the publisher without his permission.

Nolan, who is responsible for hits such as "Lady Marmalade," filed his claim regarding two sets of songs that he wrote or co-wrote over the years. He says that the first set of songs was licensed to his frequent co-writer around 40 years ago. The second set of songs was licensed to two other companies. Nolan claims his co-writer and those companies then licensed both sets of the music to Sony/ATV.

Nolan says he did not grant permission for any of those transfers. His lawsuit includes six causes of action, including breach of written contract for acquiring both sets of songs and that Sony/ATV knowingly conducted copyright infringement when it obtained the exclusive rights and collected corresponding revenue. He is seeking $20 million in damages.

This case shows just how important copyright law can be for an artist at any level. The issues surrounding copyright infringement can be complex and difficult to understand. It is imperative that New York artists have sound legal advice to protect their best interests.

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