U2 cleared of copyright infringement claim by New York judge

U2 were victors in a copyright infringement case involving their 1991 hit, “The Fly”.

Paul Rose’s claims that U2 infringed the copyright in his guitar riffs was rejected by the New York District Court.

Even though the judge said that there were some similarities in Rose’s guitar riff “Nae Slappin” and U2’s “The Fly” – there were also lots of other elements that were different.

The judge said that “The Fly” did not “recreate the notes, sounds, or rhythm of the plaintiff’s work in a way that would permit a finding that the copying was sufficiently close to find infringement under the fragmented literal similarity doctrine.

Other elements were too vague to be even capable of copyright protection. Ultimately Rose’s claim failed because there was not any substantial portion of Rose’s work infringed by U2.

You can listen for yourself here, in this helpfully compiled YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LNMY3UlbRk

You can read the judgment here: https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/U2.pdf

Published by Brett

Brett is an experienced lawyer and business executive who focuses on commercial outcomes. He has worked across three sectors in England & Australia advising and leading initiatives in digital, media and technology

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