Kenner, LA asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Louisiana

Q: Can I claim unjust enrichment as a Joint-author of a copyright if publisher has not paid my splits and has not included

any attribution of my contributions within press releases of the work — despite the fact that only my contributions appear in that press release. The attribution of the songs lyrics, and ideas in the NPR press release include every other joint-author excluding me. This enriches the other joint-authors claim to the ideas which could facilitate employment opportunities and creative advancement while diminishing my contributions. In music, word of mouth is a powerful tool that helps artists to be discovered and progress within the music industry. In addition, the publisher has established a duty to render accounting to me as an author on a semi-annual basis. However, a year later i have not received any accounting statements. This song has had a segment at Grammy’s, performed by a top 10 act at Coachella, has had 2 music videos with over 200k views and has been streamed over 1.4 million times within a year. Do I have a claim of unjust enrichment based on these findings?

1 Lawyer Answer
Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL

A: Short answer: maybe. Long answer: it probably depends on how clear the evidence is that you were actually an author on the subject work. Have any of the other authors (or anyone generally involved in the development/project) claimed that you did not make any creative contribution to the final work product? If so, their legal theory may be that you have no rights. If not, then you may have more than simply an unjust enrichment claim. Given the scope of the potential damages available, I strongly recommend you consult with an intellectual property trial attorney.

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