Marshmello Defeats Arty’s Copyright Suit Over ‘Happier’

Gene Maddaus
·2-min read

A judge has rejected a copyright lawsuit that claimed that Marshmello’s 2018 hit “Happier” infringed on an earlier song.

Arty, a Russian DJ whose legal name is Artem Stoliarov, filed suit in 2019, claiming that Marshmello’s song ripped off the synthesizer melody from his 2014 remix of the song “I Lived.”

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Arty was represented by Richard Busch, the attorney who represented the family of Marvin Gaye in the famous “Blurred Lines” case.

In a ruling on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez held that Arty had given up ownership of the remix composition in his contract, and therefore had no grounds to sue.

OneRepublic released the original version of “I Lived” through Interscope Records. The label then brought Arty in to do a remix, and used the label’s standard remix agreement. Under the deal, Arty was paid a flat fee up front and gave up any royalties.

The contract stated: “I acknowledge and agree that the services rendered (or to be rendered) by Remixer hereunder do not entitle Remixer or me to any ownership or financial interest in the underlying musical composition.”

The suit boiled down to the definition of “underlying musical composition,” with Arty’s attorneys claiming that he gave up any right to the original composition, but not to the remix. Marshmello’s lawyers argued that he was clearly disclaiming any right to the remix as well.

Gutierrez sided with Marshmello.

“From the terms of the contract it is clear that Plaintiff disclaimed ‘any ownership or financial interest’ in the Remix Composition,” the judge wrote. “As such, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s infringement claims because Plaintiff disclaimed his ownership and financial interests in the Arty Elements.”

Marshmello was represented by Robert Jacobs of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP.

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