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Copyrights Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

Commentary: Claims Filing Time Issues on Copyright Ownership from Everly Bros. Case

Don and Phil Everly’s flawless harmonies that resulted in a string of hits in the 1950s and '60s regrettably ended in acrimony. The Sixth Circuit recently issued a decision in a dispute between Phil’s heirs and Don over copyright ownership of the No. 1 hit “Cathy’s Clown,” in which concurring Judge Eric E. Murphy raised important questions about when the statute of limitations should begin to run in copyright cases and whether courts have been correctly applying the law.

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Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Everly Brothers had a string of hits: “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and many more. Don and Phil Everly’s flawless harmonies regrettably ended in acrimony. In Everly v. Everly, 958 F.3d 442 (6th Cir. 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a decision in a dispute between Phil’s heirs and Don over copyright ownership of the No. 1 hit “Cathy’s Clown.”

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