Monday, March 24, 2008
In Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton, 212 F.3d 477 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. den'd sub nom. Bolton v. Three Boys Music Corp., 531 U.S. 1126 (2001), the Ninth Circuit's upheld a jury award of $5.4 million against Michael Bolton and Sony (the record company associated with him) for "unconsciously" plagiarizing the Isley Brothers' "Love is a Wonderful Thing." As noted by the Columbia Law Library Music Plagiarism Project, the case is comparable to Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, 420 F. Supp. 177 (S.D.N.Y. 1976), modified and remanded sub nom., ABKCO Music, Inc. v. Harrisongs Music, Ltd., 722 F.2d 988, 1983 U.S. App. LEXIS 15562, Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P25603, 221 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 490 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1983), in which the court held that in his hit song "My Sweet Lord" George Harrison had "unconsciously misappropriated the musical essence of 'He's So Fine.'"