Homkow v. Musika Records Inc.

Intellectual Property

New York Law Journal

Judge Wood

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PLAINTIFF HIRED defendants to produce an orchestral recording entitled "The Music of George Washington's Life: A Symphonic Journey," based on historical music that he researched and compiled. After default judgment against defendants as to plaintiff's 11 claims in his copyright infringement action the court referred the case to a magistrate judge for an inquest into damages. The magistrate's report, analyzing only plaintiff's copyright infringement claims, recommended injunctive relief but denial of all other relief requested. The court awarded injunctive relief, denied all other relief under plaintiff's copyright infringement claim, and granted plaintiff another opportunity to pursue damages on his other 10 claims. On de novo review it determined that plaintiff could recover neither actual nor statutory damages under his copyright infringement claim. Because the allegedly infringing activity occurred more than three months prior to the effective date of copyright registration, plaintiff was precluded from recovering statutory damages under 17 USC ยง412.