ABS Entertainment, Inc. v. CBS Corp., No. 16-55917 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to CBS in an action alleging violation of state law copyrights owned by ABS in sound recordings originally fixed before 1972. The panel held that the district court erred in finding that there was no genuine issue of material fact about the copyright eligibility of remastered sound recordings distributed by CBS and improperly concluded that ABS's state copyright interest in pre-1972 sound recordings embodied in the remastered sound recordings was preempted; the district court abused its discretion by excluding evidence of ABS's expert and reports that evidenced CBS's performance of ABS's sound recordings in California, and granting partial summary judgment of no infringement with respect to the samples contained in those reports; and the district court's strict application of its local rules with respect to the timeliness of ABS's motion for class action certification was inconsistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and thus an abuse of discretion. The panel reversed the striking of class certification and remanded for further proceedings.
Court Description: Copyright The panel reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants on claims of violation of state law copyrights possessed by the plaintiffs in sound recordings originally fixed before 1972. Under the Sound Recording Act, sound recordings fixed after February 15, 1972, are subject to a compulsory license regime for performance via digital transmission and are excused from infringement for performance via terrestrial radio. Congress reserved governance of sound recordings fixed before 1972 to state statutory and common law and excluded such sound recordings from federal copyright protection until 2067. The plaintiffs owned sound recordings embodying musical performances initially fixed in analog format prior to February 15, 1972. They remastered these pre-1972 sound recordings onto digital formats.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on October 31, 2018.