Donald Trump Asserts Fair Use, 'Absolute Immunity' In Lame Attempt To Evade Copyright Suit By Eddy Grant

from the and-then-we'll-take-it-higher dept

Eddy Grant, responsible for the banger Electric Avenue, has made it onto our pages a couple of times in the past, most recently over a copyright spat with Donald Trump. At issue in the lawsuit was the Trump campaign sending around a video of a “Trump/Pence” train zipping by, with a Biden hand-car chugging behind it. While there were lots of references to Biden sniffing people’s hair (seriously, what is that?) and other silly jabs, the real problem is that the entire video has Electric Avenue playing as its soundtrack. Eddy Grant didn’t like this, of course, and sued over it. Trump tried to get the suit tossed on fair use grounds, arguing that the use of the song was transformative… but that isn’t how it works. Simply using the song in a way the author didn’t intend doesn’t make the use transformative. Were that the case, every commercial advertisement out there would feature copyrighted songs as backgrounds to selling all manner of things. Again, not how it works and the court refused to toss the suit in response to Trump’s Motion to Dismiss.

And so now this whole case moves forward and Trump is once again asserting fair use in his answer to the complaint… but with a twist! More on the twist in a moment, but first the fair use argument.

Former President Trump denied Eddy Grant’s copyright infringement claims in a formal response submitted to the court late Monday night.

“Defendants deny that they have willfully and wrongfully infringed Plaintiffs’ copyrights,” the response said. “Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendants are barred, either in whole or in part, by the doctrines of fair use and/or nominative use.”

So pretty much the same fair use argument that was made in Trump’s initial motion to dismiss (embeded below). This argument almost certainly won’t work. And, while I don’t find myself arguing against fair use very often, this one doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The video used a significant portion of the song and the song was used in nearly the entire video in question. And, while Trump asserted the video was parody, it’s not parody of Electric Avenue. That’s the point of the parody defense: the use of a work in order to satirize it. That isn’t what’s happening here. The target of the satire is Joe Biden, not Eddy Grant or his song.

It seems like Trump’s legal team might realize that argument is a loser as well, given that the added twist I mentioned earlier.

The former president also asserted Grant cannot sue him because of what Trump’s attorneys called “Presidential absolute immunity.”

So, here’s the thing: someone really needs to get Donald Trump in a room, sit him down, and explain to him that he cannot simply shout “presidential immunity!” every time something in his life doesn’t go the way he wants to make it magically go away. This immunity claim is something he’s using with wild abandon, including in far more serious realms like in denying requested documents for the January 6th committee.

But this is far more absurd. It wasn’t Donald Trump, the President, that put out this video. Rather, it was the Donald Trump campaign that did so and that campaign very much does not qualify for presidential immunity, “absolute” or otherwise. Immunity for presidents from prosecution or suit typically ends when that person is no longer president and, last time I checked, the subject of the mockery in the video is president now, not Donald Trump.

“Given the court’s recent favorable determination, there are very few issues that remain to be resolved. We are confident that our clients’ rights will ultimately be fully upheld and look forward to Mr. Trump fully explaining his actions,” Grant’s attorney, Brian Caplan, said in a statement provided to ABC News.

That’s the sound of a lawyer quite confident in his case. And it’s frankly quite hard to argue with him.



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Comments on “Donald Trump Asserts Fair Use, 'Absolute Immunity' In Lame Attempt To Evade Copyright Suit By Eddy Grant”

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35 Comments
That One Guysays:

Well if you insist...

If he wants to argue that presidential immunity applies in this case then it certainly seems like after the judge laughs that argument out of court any fines for infringement should be levied against him personally and shouldn’t be dumped on the campaign, since he just claimed that he was directly responsible and involved with the ad and use of music.

John Hudsonsays:

Trump Asserts Fair Use

Plenty of legal absurdity in the defense right now, but likely not to be so when Trump regains his place in the Big (White) House with a majority of servile Republican politicians and his myrmidons running Justice, the military and every other darned branch of administration. And that’s what the polls say awaits us, what with a vocal minority swallowing the Kool-Aid, a weak-willed opposition, official nods to gerrymandering and already a Team Trump majority in the ultimate umpire’s box.

Doane Effing Kerrsays:

You REALLY are in so tight propaganda bubble that don't know...

About sniffer Joe? Whew. Then again, you didn’t know were NO WMD found in Iraq, whole war based on LIES.

You may not have heard about the Afghanistan debacle, "Empty Shelves Joe", the Fuck Joe Biden chants at many sports games, AND how that hilariously was transformed into "Let’s Go, Brandon!" by a clever sports talker, but it’s backfired big-time since.

Just don’t read or listen to the MSM / NPR, Timmy, and you’ll be better informed.

Anonymoussays:

It wasn’t Donald Trump, the President, that put out this video. Rather, it was the Donald Trump campaign that did so and that campaign very much does not qualify for presidential immunity, "absolute" or otherwise.

True. But the campaign is not the only defendant named; Trump himself is a co-respondant.

OTOH, campaigning is NOT one of the duties of the sitting president, and while the plaintiff may have to address it specifically, Trump isn’t being sued in his official capacity as President. So it seems valid to bring up, if only to knock it back down again.

Davidsays:

No serious lawyer will work for Trump

Given his performance lawsuits, it’s likely to get you a bar referral and a bad rep in the profession. In addition, if he’s not satisfied with the outcome (and given his increasingly lunatic attempts, that will be comparatively often the case) he’ll dock your pay and it will require you more money in litigation to get it out than it would be worth.

Anonymoussays:

Isn’t ANYONE going to mention ex-president trumps dementia?

He lives in mar-a-lago, has convinced himself he "moved" the whitehouse to his own place and issues "executive presidential orders" for whats on the menu at his restaurants etc, believing he’s still president.

Seriously mental health issues at play. The guy is essentially now convinced he overturned the election and was returned as POTUS.

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Discuss Itsays:

Re:

Not exactly right.

He said he could shoot anyone in the streets of New York City and not lose any votes. He’s correct in that no one in NYC, right mind or not, would vote for him under any circumstances. New Yorkers know him. They’ve watched him since before Fred Sr. was called to report to Satan in the Head Office. There’s a reason Donnie doesn’t walk the streets in SoHo without a body guard. He’d be torn limb from limb and the quivering bloody mass defecated upon.

That One Guysays:

Knowingly lying about a pandemic comes to mind...

The messed up thing is I’m pretty sure he was accurate in that statement both in that it wouldn’t cost him any NYC voters(I’ll take your word on how much they hate him) or voters in general, as given everything else his cultists have given him a pass on ‘gunned down some person in NYC’ would hardly be the worst.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

While your paraphrase is more accurate, it’s the spirit of his statements, more than the letter, to which i appeal in my comment. (i mean, the letter of his meandering puffery barely makes sense 90% of the time anyway.)

But yeah i expect New York is much more aware of the guy, although it’s like large sections of the nation at large hadn’t heard anything about his ongoing bullshit since the 70s or whatever, or (more likely) they are just down with his kind of crap, sadly.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: biden sniffing hair

"The kind of attention that would get a normal person shot."

Well, Biden’s opposition was able to get away with stating that they could grab a woman by the pussy without complaint, got into a lawsuit over a porn star divulging her private affairs with Mr. Trump, and is on public record naming his good buddy Jeffrey Epstein a "terrific guy"…so if you feel you have to compare just those two Biden still comes out ahead.

It’s a pretty solid indicator that the #MeToo movement has uphill work in DC but if we’re talking about getting people shot Biden won’t be first, third, tenth or hundredth in line.

For some odd reason the vast majority of sex scandals involving nonconsenting people seems to also involve republicans these days.

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