MLB, Red Sox & Bon Jovi Tangled Up in Copyright Lawsuit

soxSox and Dawgs has the scoop on the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Bart Steele against Turner Broadcasting, Major League Baseball, The Boston Red Sox, and Bon Jovi.  The lawsuit arises from what Steele alleges to be the improper use of his song “Man I Love This Team” in the production of a commercial for Major League Baseball.

Steele describes the lawsuit in his own words on Sox and Dawgs:

My lawsuit is based on what I believe was the defendants’ use of my Boston baseball playoff song “Man I Love This Team” as a temp track in the production of a commercial for Major League Baseball. The audio portion of that commercial was performed by Bon Jovi. I believe that commercial–both the visual images and the Bon Jovi audio-were derived from my song.

I sent my song to the Red Sox and Major League Baseball and told them I had written another version called “Man I Really Love This Town.” In basic legal terms, what I believe defendants did was make an “unauthorized derivative work.” Their MLB “I Love This Town” campaign was one of the most expensive sports commercials in history.

It is important to note that Steele, who represented himself, has already seen his claims defeated at the trial court level.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted the defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment on the grounds that no reasonable juror could find that the original elements of Steele’s song are substantially similar to the TBS promotion.  (Read the Court’s decision in its entirety here).  Steele has now taken an appeal of the District Court’s ruling.

Also see Boston Magazine’s feature on Steele and his lawsuit.

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