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Lana Del Rey settles copyright lawsuit over ‘Summertime Sadness’ music video

Taken from www.billboard.com | Author: Bill Donahue | Date: 23 June 2023


The deal will resolve allegations that the star singer's video was created with "blatant disregard" of a filmmaker's intellectual property.


Lana Del Rey has reached a settlement to end a lawsuit claiming her music video for “Summertime Sadness” featured 17 seconds of material lifted directly from a copyrighted short film, weeks after a federal judge refused to dismiss the case.


Lucas Bolaño sued Del Ray (real name Elizabeth Grant) and Universal Music Group last year, accusing them of “blatant disregard” of his rights. He claimed the 2012 video not only copied the footage from his short film “Sky,” but even stole audio of a voice saying “Remember, I will always love you, bye.”

But in a filing in California federal court on Tuesday, lawyers for both sides said they had reached an agreement for Bolaño to drop his case. Specific terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and neither side immediately returned requests for comment.


The settlement came just a month after a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit against Del Rey. The star’s lawyers had argued that Bolaño waited far too long to sue, but in a May 16 ruling, Judge Stephen Wilson sent the case to a jury trial — a risky proposition even for any defendant.


Bolaño sued in July 2022, claiming the first 17 seconds of the “Summertime Sadness” music video was copied directly from his film, with “only marginal differences” like cropping and color saturation: “These minor alterations do not make Defendants’ copying any less apparent or egregious.”


His lawyers claimed the video, which had more than 350 million views on YouTube when he filed his case, had “generated millions of dollars in royalties” for Del Rey and UMG.


“Unfortunately, Plaintiffs have not seen a dime of these ill-gotten proceeds and have never even been credited for their work,” they wrote.


In April, attorneys for Del Rey asked a federal judge to toss the case out. They didn’t argue about whether or not the clip appeared in the music video, but said simply that Bolaño had waited years too long to sue. In particular, they pointed to a 2015 YouTube comment on his short film, in which a user said “this was used in Summertime Sadness!”


“The undisputed facts demonstrate that plaintiffs had actual knowledge of the music video and Del Rey’s use of their works no later than 2015,” the star’s lawyers wrote. “Ignoring clear, indisputable, and specific notice, plaintiffs waited an additional seven years to bring this suit.”


But Bolaño argued that he never saw that comment and didn’t notice Del Rey’s video until 2021. And last month, a Judge Wilson said a jury might believe that argument: “These arguments are more properly resolved before the jury.”


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