Minding Your Business

Proskauer’s perspective on developments and trends in commercial litigation.

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Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks

Sandra A. Crawshaw-Sparks is a partner in the Litigation Department. Sandy handles a wide variety of litigation and transactional matters in the entertainment industry, with a special focus on music. She maintains a bi-coastal practice and has represented many clients in connection with matters involving recording, publishing, licensing and management contracts, copyrights, trademark rights, unfair competition claims, and the rights of privacy and publicity.

Sandy typically handles copyright infringement, trademark infringement, enforcement of personal services contracts, accounting and royalty disputes, and matters involving the rights of privacy and publicity.

As a regular and substantial part of her practice, Sandy counsels clients in connection with transactions, negotiates pre-litigation resolutions of accounting and royalty disputes, negotiates licensing arrangements, and handles applications for court approval of personal services contracts with minors.

Sandy is ranked by Chambers USA having been described by clients as “brilliant at resolving key points.” She is also the Deputy National Legal Counsel to the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. (the GRAMMY® Award organization).

Sandy's clients have included: Amerie; Fiona Apple; Hall & Oates; Matisyahu; Meat Loaf; Madonna; Lady Gaga; The Police; Debbie Gibson; Sally Hershberger; Judd Hirsch; Britney Spears; Shania Twain; the recording group “Living Colour”; Trent Reznor (of “Nine Inch Nails”); Just Blaze; Sting; Luther Vandross; and the recording group "U2." Sandy has also represented numerous entertainment industry leaders, including: Chris Blackwell; Jimmy Iovine; and Russell Simmons. The music industry companies she has represented include: American Recordings; BMG Music Publishing (including FirstCom music and Zomba Music Publishing); Cash Money Records; Def Jam Recordings; EMI-Capitol Music Group (including Capitol Records, EMI Records, SBK Records, and Virgin Records); EMI Music Publishing; Gee Street Records; IslandLife; the Island Trading Company; JB Music Publishing; Jellybean Recordings Inc.; the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; Palm Pictures; Maverick Recordings; Prime Wave Music Publishing; Rykodisc, Inc.; Sony BMG Music Entertainment Group (including Arista Records, J Records, Jive Records, Provident Music Group, RCA Records, Zomba Recording Corp., and Verity Records); Universal Music Group (including Interscope Records; Geffen Records; GRP Records; MCA Music Publishing; MCA Records; Island Pictures; Island Music; Island Records; Mercury Records; Motown Records, and PolyGram Records); Vagrant Records; Warner Bros. Records; Warner/Chappell Music; and Wind-Up Records.

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Second Circuit Revisits Transformative Use Test in “Fish Sticks n’ Tater Tots” Music Copyright Case

The Second Circuit recently upheld a ruling that streaming giants Apple, Amazon, and Netflix engaged in fair use, in a case concerning the use of plaintiff musicians’ song in a documentary film available for viewing on defendants’ streaming platforms. In doing so, the Court found the eight-second snippet of the song was performed in a … Continue Reading

The “Truth Hurts”: Judge Rules Lizzo is 100% That [Copyright Owner]

Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California recently awarded singer Lizzo a major victory in a copyright dispute concerning the artist’s hit song “Truth Hurts.” In her ruling, Judge Gee dismissed with prejudice a claim that Lizzo must share copyright ownership of “Truth Hurts” with the plaintiffs in the case, because the … Continue Reading
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