Complaining Work

Defending Work

Ebony Latrice Batts aka “Phoenix Phenom”

“Boom Dynamite”

Hear Sound Recording

William Adams, et al. [“Black Eyed Peas”]

“Boom Boom Pow”

Hear Sound Recording

Comment by Charles Cronin

A familiar set of circumstances… An aspiring and unknown singer hopes to enhance her standing by attempting to develop an association with a pop star. The star, of course, declines the association, and the spurned unknown sues. In her recordings (above) the plaintiff claims she’s “… got the boom dynamite… I’ll make you bang all night…” It is not clear what dynamite and banging refer to, but it is hardly a promising “lyric” with which to attract the attention of a thoroughly commercial, mainstream product like “Black Eyed Peas”.

Here is a copy of Batts’ complaint, filed October 2010. One gets the impression that Batts’ lawyers may be out of their depth in this area of litigation. Even allowing for the fact that one’s attorney should make best efforts to represent their client’s interests, this complaint is so larded with irrelevant claptrap about “conspiracy” and “callous disregard” on the part of the defendants, as well as with specious pieties about the “public interest”, that one infers either that the attorneys realize that there is no real basis to their claims, or that their knowledge of the issues of music copyright infringement is shaky. The latter may be the case given what appears to be a potentially dreadful misstep when they state in their complaint that their client’s song contains “little to no harmony or melody”. Has a plaintiff ever prevailed in a music copyright infringement claim in which the works at issue contain, by plaintiff’s own admission, neither harmony nor melody?

Batts v. Adams, Complaint

In June (2011) after the Court denied plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment nicely summarizing the gravamen of the matter with the bemused and pithy observation: “[t]his case is about the word ‘boom’.”  Plaintiffs’ mostly shy-of-the-mark response (below) fussing about reluctance of defendants to make themselves available for deposition suggests that plaintiffs might still be star-struck, and hope to obtain if not, ultimately, a financial windfall, at least a fleeting opportunity to be physically present among music biz big-wigs.

Batts v. Adams, Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgement    

On 21 October, 2011 Judge John Walter of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, issued an order (below) granting defendants’ motion for summary judgement thereby, one can only hope, ending this apparently ridiculous claim.

Batts v. Adams,  Order Granting Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment​