Who run things?

The US$300-million lawsuit brought by Jamaican deejay Flourgon against American singer Miley Cyrus over alleged copyright infringements, has been given a possible lifeline. The defence had requested that the matter be dismissed.

But magistrate Robert Lehrburger has suggested that his colleague Lewis Kaplan, the district judge assigned to hear the matter, not dismiss the case on summary judgement as recommended by Cyrus’ legal team even though her ‘fair use’ defence is probably sound.

According to Lehrburger, Kaplan should halt the motion by Cyrus’ team to have the matter dismissed immediately. He added that Kaplan might want to limit any damages claimed by Flourgon whose real name is Michael May, to just the three years before he filed his lawsuit last year.

“In sum, analysis of the relevant factors strongly indicates that defendants’ use of the phrase is a fair use. But whether that is so may be properly determined at summary judgement, not on this motion to dismiss where reasonable inferences are to be made, and ambiguities resolved, in favour of May, the non-moving party,” Lehrburger is quoted as saying in United Kingdom website Complete Music Update on Monday.

In March last year, Flourgon filed the lawsuit against Cyrus in the US District Court, Manhattan, New York. He alleges that Cyrus’s 2013 hit song, We Can’t Stop, closely resembles his 1988 hit We Run Things. He further accused Cyrus and her label RCA Records, owned by Sony Corp, of misappropriating his material, including the lyrics ‘We run things, things no run we,” which she sings as ‘We run things, things don’t run we’.

Cyrus and her team responded with at least three arguments why Flourgon’s claim is invalid. They argued that a single lyric is not protected by copyright, that Cyrus’ use of it was fair, and that the deejay’s lyric in We Run Things is not in itself original.

Last November, Flourgon won “formal copyright protection” from the US Copyright Office for all musical arrangements in We Run Things.

When contacted by the Jamaica Observer, Flourgon declined comment on the latest development, and referred the newspaper to his attorney Willie Gary. Calls to Gary’s Florida law office were unsuccessful.

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