Firm opposes claims in Brian Jonestown Massacre copyright dispute

August 18, 2014 – Partners Cari Cohorn and David Given today prevailed on a motion to strike musician Jeffrey Davies’ answer and dismiss his counterclaims against firm client Anton Newcombe, a/k/a The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Through the lawsuit, Newcombe seeks a ruling that – contrary to Davies’ contention that he co-authored many of BJM’s musical works – Davies neither authored the works (with the exception of three songs) nor has any ownership interest in them. Davies attempted to assert counterclaims against Newcombe for, among other things, misappropriation, fraud, and copyright infringement. Just as he did during the previous round of motion practice, Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins of the Northern District of California ruled in Newcombe’s favor on every issue, holding that many of Davies’ state-law claims are preempted by the Copyright Act and that he failed to properly plead other claims. The court granted Davies leave to attempt to cure the defects in his counterclaims but dismissed for good Davies’ requests for statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and punitive damages arising out of Newcombe’s alleged copyright infringement.