Doniger / Burroughs Wins Highly-Contested Motion to Dismiss in Suit against Universal Music

Venice, CA – Doniger / Burroughs has emerged victorious in a complex ongoing dispute regarding application of domestic and international right of publicity laws. The case addresses the unauthorized use by Universal Music of a photograph taken by a photographer represented by the firm of a model also represented by the firm. Universal exploited the image by removing the photographer’s watermark from the image and then using it as the cover art for singer Jeremih’s recent release. Below is the image captured by the Doniger / Burroughs client (top), and the unauthorized use by Universal Music (below):

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Universal and its co-defendants have refused to accept responsibility for this clear-cut case of copyright infringement. Instead, they filed motion paperwork asserting that Danish law should usurp California statutory law to preclude certain of the claims brought by Doniger / Burroughs’s clients. Substantial briefing and oral argumentation took place from November of 2015 until this week, when the Judge presiding over the case in the Southern District of New York issued a thorough ruling adopting the positions argued by Doniger / Burroughs. The case will now proceed toward trial.

Scott Alan Burroughs of Doniger / Burroughs represents the photographer and model in this action.

Linda M. Burrow of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor represents Universal Music in this action. 

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  • About the Firm

    Doniger / Burroughs is California’s premier fashion, art, entertainment, and technology law boutique. The firm has resolved more than 1,000 disputes over the almost 20 years it has been in existence, and has represented all manner of individuals and businesses in the creative industries. Its lawyers have extensive state and federal court experience, and hail from well-regarded law schools. The firm has been on the forefront of cutting-edge copyright law, appearing often before judges, juries, and the Courts of Appeal. It has tried more copyright infringement cases than virtually any other firm over the last 5-10 years, and has obtained for its clients numerous six- and seven-figure verdicts and settlements.

    The firm is committed to representing artists and content creators, and enforcing intellectual property rights. It has litigated successfully against many of the nation’s largest retailers, film and television studios, web sites, and news organizations. Its partners speak and write often on art and copyright law issues, and devote significant time and resources to ensuring a level playing field for those responsible for the creation of art and content.