KB Client Prevails at Ninth Circuit on Fair Use Defense

On March 24, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision finding that a licensor of copyrights must pay attorneys' fees to KB's client, the Burbank High School Vocal Music Association, a boosters club, and its parent volunteer board members.  Along with the choir director, the boosters club had been sued for allegedly infringing copyrighted music in creating a show choir piece that involved the song "Magic" by Olivia Newton John.  The District Court  had granted summary judgment on behalf of KB's clients, but had denied fees. The choir director had prevailed on a theory of qualified immunity.  Cross appeals were filed, and the Ninth Circuit unanimously found that not only should KB's client be awarded fees, but that the case should be affirmed on the fair use defense, which had not been expressly ruled upon by the trial court.  The case provides valuable precedent for other schools and choir groups around the country facing similar issues.  The opinion in the case, Tresona Multimedia, LLC vs. Burbank High School Vocal Music Association, et al., Case No. 17-56006, can be found here: https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2020/03/24/17-56006.pdf.  Commentary from the Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center can be found here: https://fairuse.stanford.edu/case/tresona-multimedia-llc-v-burbank-high-school-vocal-music-assn/.