MCS Music America, Inc. v. YAHOO! Inc., 2010 WL 500430 (M.D. Tenn. 2010)
Plaintiffs brought a copyright infringement suit alleging, inter alia, that Yahoo!’s music subscription service had distributed without permission a total of 308 different versions of 205 of its musical composition. This came about, according to the complaint, because Yahoo!, distributed different versions of some of the songs that were performed by different artists, produced at different times by different people, and were distributed by different record labels. The plaintiff contended that it was entitled to a $150k in statutory damages for each of the 308 versions.
Yahoo! filed a motion 12(c) judgment on the pleadings arguing that the Plaintiffs were only allowed to seek one award of statutory damages per work infringed. The Middle District of Tennessee (Campbell, C.J.) granted Yahoo!’s motion and found that the statutory damages available to the plaintiffs, if any, were recoverable only on the 215 musical compositions alleged in the Complaint, rather than the 308 total recorded versions of the 215 musical compositions. Stated the Court, “Plaintiffs may only recover one award of statutory damages per musical composition per Defendant.”