Fashion Law: Musician SUES Over Unauthorized Use of Song on America’s Next Top Model #fashionlaw

In Entertainment Law, Fashion Law by FASHIONENTLAW™

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Designers, fashion television producers, this is a case you all should pay attention to. When you use music that does not belong to you, you need to obtain clearance for that work. If you are wondering why, revisit my discussions on Copyright Infringement here. You should consult with your lawyers who will help you obtain the rights and usage you need. The case below illustrates this important point to note.

“According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California, at least 15 of Richardson’s recordings have been broadcast on multiple occasions without license or payment. Richardson and Zion Records are looking for an injunction and damages.
A CBS spokesperson says “this is a claim that is very much off key and has absolutely no merit”

Music on television typically requires both a sync license and a performance license from the copyright holder. But it’s the producer’s job to keep track of the music used. To do this, producers use an honor-code system of “cue sheets” to denote what music is used on a show. The cue sheets are then turned into performance rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI, which use the information to split up royalty collection.
It’s not a perfect system, and it’s been subject to much grumbling among artists, as well as a few lawsuits.

In this particular case, when Richardson watched America’s Next Top Model, he heard music that sounded very familiar. To prevail in a copyright case, he’ll have to beat the tough test that judges impose for infringement. But Richardson also saw something else on Top Model that he doesn’t find attractive.

He alleges that there are artists and artist administrators who are receiving money out of the show’s music budget — just not always the ones whose songs are being played.”

-THR, Esq. has the full story.

If you have questions about the legal issue raised here, you may contact me at (


Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her firm’s fashion and entertainment law practice areas. Ms. Uduak has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts. She has also handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients including network television and licensing deals. Her work and contributions to the creative industry has been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA: ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also the author of Fashionentlaw™ and also has over two decades combined hands on industry experience in the creative industry which includes modeling, retail, fashion production, public relations, digital media, journalism and publishing. For further inquiries or if you are seeking legal representation, please email ( You may also follow her on twitter at @uduaklaw

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