Wooden Nickel Music, which owns the copyright to the musical composition “Lady” and the sound recording embodying that composition by the group Styx, has filed an infringement action against Anheuser-Busch, LLC (AB) and a film company that purportedly created a video, currently on YouTube, including part of the recording. Wooden Nickel Music v. Anheuser-Busch, LLC, No. 13-8145 (C.D. Cal., filed November 4, 2013). The video, titled “Bud Light Commercial – The Elevator,” features a scheme in which young men cause an elevator with an attractive woman to stop between floors, so one of the men can share a beer and dance with the woman and, in the process, obtain a phone number. “Lady” is one of the songs played during the dance scene.

According to the complaint, AB’s associate general counsel claims it has no record of the company “ever having seen the referenced work using Bud Light indicia” and that “AB is ‘not legally responsible for [the film company’s] use of the music in [the] unauthorized work.’” The plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, damages for each separate infringement or statutory damages of $150,000 with respect to each infringement, an accounting, interest, attorney’s fees, and costs.


Issue 503

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.