Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirms decision in favor of Notorious B.I.G. Estate and its “Party and Bullsh*t” lyrics

September 04, 2019

Director of Media Relations
Nicholas Braude

Los Angeles, CA. Nixon Peabody has again successfully defended the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G. in a copyright infringement case based on the lyrics of the artist’s song “Party and Bullsh*t,” in Abiodun Oyewole v. Rita Ora et al.

Nixon Peabody’s legal team, led by Intellectual Property  partner Staci Jennifer Riordan, first secured a victory for the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G. in 2018 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. However, poet Abiodun Oyewole went on to appeal the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Today, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding of fair use, making this the first fair use ruling for music lyrics and the first fair use ruling affirmed with a written decision.

“We are grateful that the Second Circuit has affirmed the well-reasoned fair use ruling of the District Court, which was the first of its kind for music lyrics,” said Riordan, also a deputy leader of Nixon Peabody’s Litigation Department. “It is an honor to continue representing the Estate and helping to build and protect Christopher Wallace’s legacy.”

Nixon Peabody’s team defending the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G. also included Intellectual Property associate Sydney Pritchett and Government Investigations and White Collar Defense associate Neal Gauger.

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