7 November 2014Copyright

Ghostface Killah hit with default judgment in Iron Man case

A copyright dispute between the composer of the Iron Man movie soundtrack and rapper Ghostface Killah has taken an unexpected turn after a US court issued a default judgment in favour of the composer.

Composer Jack Urbont had filed a lawsuit three years ago accusing Ghostface Killah, whose real name is Dennis Coles, of sampling his ‘Iron Man Theme’ music on two tracks of his second album, Supreme Clientele.

As a result of the default judgment, Coles has been ordered to pay Urbont $3,758.58 in legal costs. A separate trial for damages will take place at a later date.

Urbont’s attorney told the Hollywood Reporter news website they would now be submitting evidence to establish damages and “wilful infringement.”

According to the judgment, issued on November 5 at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the default ruling was due to Ghostface’s failure to respond to requests.

The judgment said that, prior to the end of the discovery period in the pre-trial phase, Ghostface’s lawyer requested permission to withdraw from the case on the grounds that he allegedly had not been paid and that the artist had refused to communicate with him.

The judge granted the motion, but gave Ghostface a deadline to find a new attorney.

In recent months, Ghostface had not responded to attempts to schedule a deposition, a pre-trial meeting in which evidence is gathered, according to Urbont’s attorney.

The track in question featured on the 1960s television show The Marvel Super Heroes and was part of the soundtrack of the 2008 film.

The damages claim could have similar consequences to those of the SiriusXM case, in which the satellite radio station was sued by 1960s rock band The Turtles in California.

According to US law, works that predate 1972 fall outside the federal Copyright Act of 1976. But in certain states works are protected against unauthorised duplication by their civil codes.

Sirius has since announced it will appeal against the ruling. The Turtles had said previously that the band was due $100 million in damages.

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More on this story

10 October 2016   Sony Music and rapper Ghostface Killah have settled a copyright dispute with the composer of the 1960s “Iron Man” theme song.