AALRR Partner Aaron Craig Helps Choir Director Who Inspired Glee TV Show Sing a Victory Song
On December 22, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR) partner Aaron Craig won an important and complete legal victory for the director of the high school show choir that inspired the popular television series Glee.
In June 2016, Tresona Multimedia, a large music licensing company, sued Burbank High School’s choir director Brett Carroll, the Burbank High School Vocal Music Association Boosters Club, and its board members. Tresona alleged the choir had used music without obtaining special “custom arrangement” and “grand rights” licenses. The lawsuit received widespread media attention, including coverage in the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter, Law360, and many other news outlets. Mr. Craig asserted that Tresona lacked standing and that his client, Mr. Carroll, was immune from the lawsuit as a public employee and that his actions were reasonable. In deciding these issues, a federal district judge in Los Angeles developed new law in applying the doctrine of qualified immunity to copyright infringement. The Court agreed with Mr. Craig’s standing and qualified immunity arguments and granted summary judgment for Mr. Carroll, dismissing all claims against him.
“In this David versus Goliath case, it is gratifying to help a high school choir director defeat a large, hyper-aggressive company three days before Christmas,” Mr. Craig said. “In the new year, my client can devote all of his energies to preparing his talented high school students to give their all onstage.”
Mr. Craig heads AALRR’s Intellectual Property and Technology practice. A graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, Mr. Craig has won many high stakes cases involving copyright, trademark, patent, entertainment, bankruptcy, and commercial disputes.