Hill, Holliday Wins Court Case Brought by EMI

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Spalding Sports Worldwide scored a victory in U.S. District Court in New York recently when a judge ruled that a TV spot crafted by the pair did not violate the rights of record company EMI.
In a suit filed in November, EMI’s catalog divisions alleged that a Spalding commercial inspired by the Louis Prima composition “Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)” infringed on EMI’s ownership of the song.
In a presentation to Spalding for work touting its Top-Flite Tour Irons, the Boston shop suggested licensing that song. The Chicopee, Mass.-based client instead opted to use stock swing music, though the words “Swing, Swing, Swing” did appear on screen.
When the spot began airing last year, EMI asked that it be pulled because use of the words might be construed as an EMI endorsement of the clubs. There was no charge that the commercial soundtrack constituted copyright infringement.
The agency refused to take the ad off the air, and EMI filed a suit seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Hill, Holliday and Spalding filed for summary judgment of dismissal, which was granted a few weeks ago by Judge Robert Sweet. In his 15-page ruling, Sweet wrote: “The 30 seconds it takes to review the commercial leaves no doubt the defendants’ use is fair, not infringing, not confusing, and that no reasonable consumer could conclude otherwise.”
EMI representatives in New York did not return calls by press time.