“Certainly, we’re in the age of copyright trolling.”
James Sammataro, partner at Pryor Cashman, is one of the top music industry attorneys. And like many music biz barristers, he’s reacting to an alarming swell in copyright infringement lawsuits — some of which are pretty questionable (and very high-profile).
Litigants are seeing huge dollar signs — in the 7 or 8 figures — and that virtually guarantees future copyright warfare ahead. Because even if a claim is flimsy, that doesn’t mean an ill-educated jury won’t award a multi-million dollar award to the litigating troll. Just ask Katy Perry or Pharrell.
But this goes far beyond the flashy, high-profile suits. “Certainly, we’re in the age of copyright trolling,” Sammataro flatly told Digital Music News.
So what’s the solution?
In this edition of the Digital Music News Podcast, we set out to create a working survival list for protecting yourself against the oncoming wave of copyright trolls. Because the reality is simple: if you score a smash hit, you may also attract some serious infringement litigation — sometimes merited, oftentimes not.
There’s even an old saying in the music industry: ‘where there’s a hit, there’s a writ.’
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for a possible attack. Sammataro is offering some critical tips to artists and IP owners who might find themselves in the line of fire from copyright trolls. And some of the advice was downright depressing. Sammataro tells his clients to stop rattling off their influences — ever — even though every artist on the planet has tons of inspirational influences. In the current climate, however, giving kudos to a particular artist may mean you’re going to get sued by that particular artist — or, the artist’s litigating estate.
But there are also steps you can take to protect yourself before the creative process is underway. “Part of the problem is that you don’t have the lawyer sitting in the studio,” Sammataro told us.
But what if your lawyer was sitting next to you in the studio?
Take a listen.