International music recording company, BMG Rights Management GmbH (“BMG”) and toy maker, MGA Entertainment (“MGA”) have reached a settlement following alleged copyright infringement.
BMG accused MGA of copyright infringement over MGA’s use of a song it entitled “My Poops” in promoting its Poopsie Slime Surprise toys. The song is alleged to have been a parody of the 2005 Black Eyed Peas hit song “My Humps” and according to BMG, the parody amounted to infringement
The toys in question comprise unicorns which excrete sparkling slime purportedly representing “unicorn poop”. BMA accused MGA, in producing its promotional tune, of copying key musical elements of “My Humps” as well as using a vocalist who “sounds very similar” to the Black Eyed Peas’ former lead singer, Fergie. The song also replaces the original lyrics with alternative lyrics such as “Whatcha gonna do with all that poop, all that poop”.
In its original filing, BMG stated that music “adds great value when incorporated into a product or used in a video advertisement, because it increases consumer [recognisability], consumer engagement and attention to the product.” BMG further added that “the infringing work is so substantially similar to ‘My Humps’ that it is obvious that the infringing work was intentionally copied.”
A federal judge has now confirmed that BMG and MGA Entertainment have reached a “settlement in principle” to resolve the matter, bringing to an end what could have been a landmark case examining the fair use doctrine in US copyright law.
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