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Beastie Boys & UMG Awarded Attorney's Fees In TufAmerica Copyright Action

By Jordan Greenberger

The SDNY awarded the Beastie Boys and their label, UMG, attorney's fees under section 505 of the Copyright Act, after they successfully defeated the plaintiff's infringement claims at summary judgment. The question at summary judgment was whether the plaintiff had standing (it did not), and the court found that awarding fees furthered the objectives of the Copyright Act by deterring the filing and pursuit of lawsuits in which chain of title has not been properly investigated by the plaintiff. The court reduced the Beastie Boys' lawyer's fees by 10% for some vague billing entries and duplicative work; 15% was reduced from the label's lawyer's fees based on vague and sparse entries. The Beastie Boys and UMG were also awarded costs. The totals were: Beastie Boys: approx. $591k fees, approx. $11k costs, and UMG: appox. $234k fees, approx $8k costs.

TufAmerica, Inc. v. Diamond et al., No. 12-cv-3529 (S.D.N.Y. filed Mar. 9, 2016).

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