Baldwin v. EMI Feist Catalog, Inc., No. 14-182 (2d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
This appeal involves a dispute over the copyright in the musical composition “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town." Plaintiffs filed suit seeking a declaration that either a notice of termination served on EMI in 2007 or another such notice served in 2012 will, upon becoming effective, terminate EMI’s rights in the Song. The district court granted summary judgment to EMI, holding that its rights in the Song will subsist through the entire remaining copyright term - which, under current law, is scheduled to expire in 2029 - pursuant to a 1951 agreement that plaintiffs are powerless to terminate. The court concluded, however, that EMI owns its rights in the Song not under the 1951 Agreement but instead under a subsequent contract executed in 1981; and that the 2007 Termination Notice will terminate the 1981 Agreement in 2016. Accordingly, the court concluded that plaintiffs are entitled to a declaratory judgment in their favor. The court reversed and remanded.