Copyright lawsuits happen somewhat often in the music business. Sometimes they take years to settle, and other times settlement comes reasonably quick. One particular lawsuit that has just reached settlement involves Blind Melon’s 1993 mega-hit “No Rain” and YouTube star Mandy Jiroux’s “Insane”.
If you’re not familiar with this case, it was filed last August and according to Hollywood Reporter “somewhat unusual”.
“According to the complaint this is ‘a somewhat unique case where substantial and verbatim copying is not disputed, but Defendants will claim that they had a license to incorporate substantial portions of Blind Melon’s most successful song ‘No Rain’ into the Infringing Works”.
According to the plaintiffs, Jiroux’s manager, Kenneth Komisar, originally requested permission for a cover of “No Rain”. However, once band members discovered that “Insane” was not actually a cover, but instead a derivative, they denied permission. In response, Hollywood reporter notes that:
“Counterclaims were subsequently brought that alleged Blind Melon expressly and impliedly agreed to license their famous song in exchange for 100 percent of publishing”.
Where things get really sticky is that there was no signed written agreement, so the argument changed from that of cover songs to a more philosophical dispute. According to Hollywood Reporter: “U.S. Copyright Act only allows for a compulsory license when the ‘basic melody or fundamental character of the work isn’t changed”. The issue arose with the plaintiffs and defendants disagreeing on whether “Insane” was considered a cover song or not.
The case ended in mediation without any substantive ruling after a judge was informed in court this week of a settlement. The terms of the settlement have not been released as of yet.