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You Decide: 11 Game-Changing Copyright Cases


Examine the evidence and judge for yourself where the boundaries of intellectual property lie.


11. Rude Music Inc. v. Newt 2012, Inc.

The Plaintiff: Rude Music, Inc., owned by Frank Sullivan, a former member of the 1980s rock band Survivor. Sullivan co-wrote the Rocky III theme song "Eye of the Tiger" in 1982.

The Defendants: Newt 2012, Inc., Newt Gingrich, and the American Conservative Union. "Eye of the Tiger" has been played at Gingrich political events, including the 2012 presidential campaign, since 2009.

The Charges: That the defendants performed Rude Music's copyrighted composition without authorization in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. That the American Conservative Union distributed Internet video recordings featuring Gingrich and "Eye of the Tiger" without authorization. That as an American politician, a copyright owner, a CEO, and a professor, Gingrich is proficiently knowledgeable of copyright law and willfully infringed upon the copyright belonging to the plaintiff. (Click here to view filed complaint.)

The Defense: The case has yet to come to trial, but Gingrich representatives have argued the following: That the plaintiff has no standing to file suit because he has not provided sufficient evidence of copyright infringement. That the playing of the song constitutes fair use. That the alleged infringement is protected under the First Amendment. That the defendant is not affiliated with the American Conservative Union and therefore cannot be charged with distributing the material. That the suit is barred because the plaintiff suffered no irreparable harm. That the plaintiff lacks sufficient evidence to prove authorship of copyrighted material. That the plaintiff did not take adequate measures to protect his copyright. That jurisdiction is improper in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. (Click here to view filed defense.)


Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report has rendered his verdict and implemented a penalty.
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