Smith, Jr. v. Casey, et al., No. 13-12351 (11th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, as representative of the estate of his father, filed suit against several entities with whom his father, Ronald Louis Smith, Sr., recorded music in the late 1970s. The estate alleged infringement of Smith's copyright in a musical composition entitled "Spank," along with a claim for breach of contract and a claim seeking a declaration of the validity of copyright transfer terminations the estate filed under 17 U.S.C. 203. Where a publisher has registered a claim of copyright in a work not made for hire, the court concluded that the beneficial owner has statutory standing to sue for infringement. The court held that the estate has adequately alleged facts to support its statutory standing to sue for infringement of the "Spank" copyright. Because the district court concluded that amendment of the complaint would be futile because the estate lacked statutory standing, the district court abused its discretion in denying leave to amend the complaint. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's denial of the estate's motion to amend the complaint.