Julianne Hartzell Discusses $20 Million Lawsuit Against Mariah Carey on WGN Radio

June 14, 2022Radio
WGN Radio

Partner Julianne Hartzell shared her insights on the recent $20 million lawsuit against Mariah Carey, record producer, Walter Afanasieff, and Sony Music Entertainment for copyright infringement in regard to the holiday hit, “All I Want for Christmas is You.” WGN Radio turned to Ms. Hartzell, a leading copyright lawyer, to better understand what’s at stake and how the case may proceed. Ms. Hartzell explained, “Copyright infringement focuses on whether something original has been copied, but it doesn’t protect ideas. It only protects how ideas are expressed.”

She continued by explaining that, to succeed on his claim, the plaintiff will need to prove Carey and/or her team had or could have had access to the song and show that the two songs, or the words or the melody or both, are substantially similar. Ms. Hartzell said, “In a lot of copyright cases, you can rely on a bit of a gut reaction. Then you’d have witnesses who were involved in the creation of each of the songs. Expert witnesses, often musicologists, will also come in and talk about the similarities of the musical phrases or portions of the melody.”

Speaking on another high-profile musical matter, WGN Radio asked Ms. Hartzell to explain the recent cease and desist letter that was sent to several Las Vegas wedding chapels, urging them to stop using the name, likeness, voice, and image of Elvis Presley. Ms. Hartzell explained that Authority Brands Group, the licensing company that controls Presley’s name and image, may be seeking to exercise quality control over “The King’s” brand by stopping unauthorized use of his persona. The situation sparked further discussion on common questions and misconceptions about intellectual property law, a topic Ms. Hartzell is passionate about. She said of her work at Marshall Gerstein, “One thing I really love is the wide range of cases. It’s really interesting work.”

To listen to the full interview, please visit WGN Radio online here.

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