READ MORE: Post Malone – ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ review
US District Judge Otis D. Wright II declined to rule from the bench on Malone’s dismissal motion after an afternoon hearing in Los Angeles yesterday (April 11), but the federal judge made it clear he was still anticipating a trial on May 17, reports Rolling Stone.
It comes after Canadian songwriter Tyler Armes previously filed a federal lawsuit in California listing Post (real name Austin Post), Post’s producer Frank Dukes, and Universal Music Group as defendants. He is seeking co-writer and co-producer credits as well as prospective and retroactive royalties and other money allegedly owed from the ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ track.
Malone then filed his own suit with the rapper asking a New York Federal Judge to rule that Armes has no claim to the song’s copyright and did not participate in writing it.
Speaking in court yesterday, Judge Wright said that he was perplexed by the argument that Malone and Dukes earned joint authorship credit on ‘Circles’ but Armes did not, after the trio collaborated on a rough mix of ‘Circles’ during a jamming session in August 2018. According to Malone, only he and Dukes shared veto control during the overnight session.
“You don’t become a joint author unless you control the supervision,” Malone’s lawyer Christine Lepera argued, claiming that Armes only offered “suggestions” in the room and never had a say over what ended up in the final product.
But the judge dismissed her argument on the grounds that Dukes was “not in control” and he did not have “veto power”.
He did not rule on the motion for summary judgement from the bench, instead saying it was “submitted” pending his final ruling.
The judge also said he saw “a fundamental difference in what the facts are” and signalled that he believes the case should go before a jury.
To that end, he asked Armes’ lawyer Allison Hart to file paperwork by early next week, explaining why her client would prefer a jury trial after Malone’s camp asked for a bench trial.
In her filing opposing the motion for summary judgment, Hart argued that Armes exercised sufficient “control” over the song’s composition when he contributed “indispensable elements” to the bass line, guitar melody and chord progression.
She also said that it was Armes who wrote the part in ‘Circles’ where the F major chord changes to an F minor chord.
The court previously dismissed Armes’ claim for authorship of the ‘Circles’ recording, leaving only authorship of the composition still at issue.
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