Lady Gaga Clears Suit Over ‘Paparazzi’ Rights

     (CN) – Producer Rob Fusari cannot sue Lady Gaga for infringing the copyrights of “Paparazzi” and other songs she co-owns, a federal judge ruled.
     Gaga and Fusari co-own the copyright to “Paparazzi,” “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich,” “Disco Heaven,” and “Retro Dance” – all songs that they worked on from 2006 to 2007 with multi-instrumentalist Calvin Gaines.
     In a June 2011 complaint, Gaines wanted a New York judge to find that Fusari and Rob Fusari Productions owed him $1 million and credit under the Copyright Act of 1976 as the co-author and co-producer of the four songs.
     The next month, Gaines brought another complaint against Fusari, this time seeking an accounting from the producer in New Jersey federal court.
     Fusari then brought a third-party complaint against Lady Gaga, whose birth name is Stefani Germanotta, asserting claims for indemnification and contribution.
     He then moved to amend the complaint under Rule 15(a)(2), arguing that his contribution claim is actually a claim for contributory copyright infringement because Gaga “contracted to receive money for the songs that she collaborated with [Gaines], which action implies either a tortious act against, or neglectful act towards, the [Gaines] rights in the compositions.” (Brackets in original.)
     U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed both counts on May 8.
     “Fusari’s indemnification and contribution claims against Germanotta must be grounded in federal law,” Martini wrote. “But neither federal statutory law nor federal common law provide causes of action for indemnification or contribution in Copyright Act cases.”
     A claim for contributory infringement would be futile, according to the ruling.
     “Fusari concedes that Germanotta is a coowner of the songs,” Martini wrote. “Accordingly, neither Germanotta nor her contracting partners can be held liable for copyright infringement.”
     The judge refused to let Fusari amend his third-party complaint.
     “Though Fusari’s amended complaint contains new factual allegations, it continues to assert the same claims for indemnification and contribution,” Martini wrote. “As the amended complaint would be subject to dismissal for the reasons addressed in this opinion, the court will deny Fusari’s motion on futility grounds.”

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