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'Santa Claus Is Comin' to the Second Circuit Following Appeal By Song's Composers' Heirs

Friday, January 31, 2014

Jan. 29 --The heirs of the composers of “Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town,” filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Jan. 24 challenging the district court's determination that they had failed in their attempts to terminate a grant of rights originally executed in 1951, Bergdahl v. EMI Feist Catalog Inc., No. 14-00182, (2d Cir., appeal filed Jan. 24, 2014).

In December, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of the publisher who currently holds the rights, Baldwin v. EMI Feist Catalog, Inc., 2013 BL 346015 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (245 PTD, 12/20/13). The court noted that one attempt to cancel the 1951 agreement failed because the termination recordation was never completed. Further attempts to terminate the grant of rights to the song, which was composed by J. Fred Coots and James Lamont “Haven” Gillespie in 1934, were also ineffective, the court held.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jonathan J. Ross of Caplan & Ross, New York.

In another case that was appealed on Jan. 27, a defendant in a copyright infringement and misappropriation case argued that the district court erred when it dismissed the complaint based on its determination that the parties had reached a settlement, Marino Institute of Continuing v. Issa, No. 14-00180 (2d Cir., appeal filed Jan. 27, 2014). The intellectual property at issue includes customer lists and continuing learning education programs. The defendants, Omar Issa and Lionyx Solutions Corp., argued that the district court erred by enforcing a verbal settlement that was later reduced to writing.

Issa and Lionyx are represented by Michael J. Resko, Mt. Kisco, NY.

District court opinion in Baldwin at

Bergdahl notice of appeal at

District court opinion in Issa at

Issa notice of appeal at

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