“Atomic Dog”

January 2, 2012

  • 99 Copyrights and Intellectual Property
  • 99I Copyrights
  • 99I(J) Infringement
  • 99I(J)2 Remedies
  • 99k72 Actions for Infringement
  • 99k83 Evidence
  • 99k83(3) Weight and Sufficiency
  • 99k83(6) k. Musical Works.

99 Copyrights and Intellectual PropertyEvidence was sufficient to permit jury to conclude that use of the word “dog” as musical punctuation and rhythmic panting in copyrighted funk song “Atomic Dog” were “original,” and thus protectable under copyright law; there was expert testimony that those elements were not just the “mere abstract idea” of a dog or of the activity of panting because, in the composition, the word “dog” constituted a “stand-alone melody of one word” used as musical punctuation at intervals on the tonic note of the song and because the sound of panting followed the rhythm of the song.
Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. UMG Recordings, Inc., 585 F.3d 267 (6th Cir. 2009)
Suggested by Christopher C. Graves, Judicial Law Clerk; District Court, Middle District of Tennessee; Nashville, TN