The Rolling Stones, BMG, and Universal Music Face Appeal in ‘Living in a Ghost Town’ Copyright Suit

Rolling Stones lawsuit ghost town copyright infringement
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The Spain-based plaintiff in a copyright lawsuit against The Rolling Stones is appealing. Photo Credit: Raph PH / CC by 2.0

The plaintiff in a copyright infringement suit against Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and others is officially appealing the case’s dismissal.

This filing party only recently submitted a notice of appeal, with a Louisiana federal judge having tossed the suit on jurisdictional grounds in October of 2023.

Levied by Spain resident and artist Sergio Garcia Fernandez, known professionally as Angelslang, the original complaint named as defendants the aforementioned Rolling Stones members as well as Universal Music Group, BMG Rights Management, and the Stones’ Promopub publishing company. (The latter defendant was dropped from the suit last August, though.)

As described in the March of 2023 action, Angelslang in 2006 wrote and recorded a track entitled “So Sorry,” before creating a work called “Seed of God (Talent in the Trash)” in 2007. Then, the plaintiff in 2013 forwarded a CD containing the efforts – which would in 2019 be released as part of Brick Songs – to an “immediate family member” of Jagger, according to the suit.

Aligning with the general details associated with an array of other music industry infringement complaints, said family member’s receiving and responding positively to the songs allegedly laid the groundwork for their incorporation (without permission) into The Rolling Stones’ “Living in a Ghost Town” (2020).

Overall, Angelslang maintains that a number of the songs’ elements were used in the four-year-old Stones release, which had about 47.2 million Spotify streams to its credit at the time of this writing.

But as initially highlighted, the defendants successfully argued for the suit’s dismissal due to the venue at hand.

“Because none of the defendants ‘reside’ or ‘may be found’ in this district, the Court finds that allowing this action to proceed in this jurisdiction would be ‘unfair’ to the defendants and holds that it is an improper venue,” Judge Eldon E. Fallon penned when granting the dismissal motion in October.

Also as noted at the outset, the plaintiff is appealing the dismissal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the corresponding notice as well as related docket entries.

Throughout 2024, it’ll be worth closely monitoring the appeal – and seeing whether the case proceeds in the States. The group behind Hackney Diamonds isn’t alone in urging U.S. courts to dismiss complaints that may be more suitable for different forums.

Last year, for instance, an appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit, levied by a UK-based individual against Nirvana, centering on the alleged infringement of artwork. However, the dismissal was contingent upon the defendants’ agreeing to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of a UK court should the matter be litigated across the pond.