Arty vs. Marshmello: This battle of the DJs has a victor. On Friday, DJ Marshmello was declared the winner in a copyright lawsuit that took an unexpected turn by examining remix rights.
Artem “Arty” Stoliarov was the plaintiff in the case that targeted “Happier,” an international hit from electronic music producer/DJ Marshmello and British band Bastille. The Russian DJ alleged that “Happier” is “note for note” plagiarism of his remix of “I Lived” by One Republic.
But the case won’t get to a comparison between the songs thanks to a novel issue that arose in this intellectual property case.
The defendants, including various music publishers and represented by attorney Robert Jacobs, challenged whether Arty actually owned compositional elements distinct in the remix. Or did Arty sign them away when working with One Republic in 2014 and acknowledging his services didn’t entitle him to “any ownership or financial interest in the underlying musical composition(s) embodied in the Remix Master(s)”?
U.S. District Court Philip Gutierrez agrees with defendants that “underlying musical composition” refers to what was embodied in the remix rather than One Republic’s song. And so, because Arty doesn’t have rights to begin with, he can’t sustain a copyright claim over what was allegedly ripped off. The judge grants summary judgment to the defendants.
Arty’s attorney promises an appeal.
Here’s the full ruling: