​Complaining Work

​Defending Work

Robert Poindexter, et al.

Thin Line Between Love and Hate

Audio recording

“Arrested Development” [Hip-hop group]

“Washed Away”

Audio Recording


Comment by Charles Cronin

If only there were a more efficient and less expensive means of disposing claims like this one. No doubt both Defendant and Judge Swain invested many hours dealing with this troublesome allegation of infringement based on nothing more than Defendant’s repeated use of the same note that opens Plaintiff’s song. Given the absurdity of Plaintiff’s claim of infringement of musical expression based on use of a particular note, he also alleged infringement of his sound recording. As the Court noted, however, the Plaintiff had unambiguously assigned to another, any property interest he may have had in the recording, and obviously had no standing for such a claim. The Court might have added that, even if Plaintiff had standing, the same de minimus defense applicable to the claim regarding music infringement would apply.

It is curious, however, that Defendant may have inadvertently courted this claim by sampling the Plaintiff’s recording, rather than simply independently creating a similarly timbred pitch.



Complaint: PDF

Memorandum Opinion and Order by Judge Laura Swain: PDF