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Intention. Music that is distributed on compact discs and similar media generates income in the form of “mechanical” royalties. Music that is publicly performed, such as when a song is played on the radio, included in a movie or commercial, or sampled in another song, produces “performance” royalties. Both types of royalties are divided between the songwriter and the song’s publisher. Vincent Cusano is a musician and songwriter who performed under the name “Vinnie Vincent” as a guitarist with the group KISS in the early 1980s. Cusano co-wrote three songs entitled “Killer,” “I Love It Loud,” and “I Still Love You,” which KISS recorded and released in 1982 on an album titled Creatures of the Night. Cusano left KISS in 1984. Eight years later, Cusano sold to Horipro Entertainment Group “one hundred (100%) percent undivided interest” of his rights in the songs “other than Songwriter’s share of performance income.” Later, Cusano filed a suit in a federal district court against Horipro, claiming in part that he never intended to sell the writer’s share of the mechanical royalties. Horipro filed a motion for summary judgment. Should the court grant the motion? Explain. [Cusano v. Horipro Entertainment Group, 301 F.Supp.2d 272 (S.D.N.Y. 2004)]

Intention. Music that is distributed on compact discs and similar media generates income in the form of “mechanical” royalties. Music that is publicly performed, such as when a song is played on the radio, included in a movie or commercial, or sampled in another song, produces “performance” royalties. Both types of royalties are divided between the songwriter and the song’s publisher. Vincent Cusano is a musician and songwriter who performed under the name “Vinnie Vincent” as a guitarist with the group KISS in the early 1980s. Cusano co-wrote three songs entitled “Killer,” “I Love It Loud,” and “I Still Love You,” which KISS recorded and released in 1982 on an album titled Creatures of the Night. Cusano left KISS in 1984. Eight years later, Cusano sold to Horipro Entertainment Group “one hundred (100%) percent undivided interest” of his rights in the songs “other than Songwriter’s share of performance income.” Later, Cusano filed a suit in a federal district court against Horipro, claiming in part that he never intended to sell the writer’s share of the mechanical royalties. Horipro filed a motion for summary judgment. Should the court grant the motion? Explain. [Cusano v. Horipro Entertainment Group, 301 F.Supp.2d 272 (S.D.N.Y. 2004)]

 

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