LEISURE, District Judge:
This is an action for copyright infringement and violations of New York State law. Plaintiff is singer Richard P. Havens (p/k/a "Richie Havens") ("Havens"). Defendants are Time Warner, Inc. ("Time Warner") and its corporate subsidiaries Warner Bros., Inc. ("Warner Bros."), Atlantic Records Corporation ("Atlantic"), and Warner Home Video (collectively, "Warner"). Havens' principal contention is that Warner has exceeded the scope of a license that Havens granted Warner to reproduce and distribute his performance of the songs, "Handsome Johnny" and "Freedom," at the renowned Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in Bethel, New York on August 15, 1969 ("Woodstock"). The action arises under the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq. ("the Copyright Act"). This Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over the copyright claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a)
Warner has moved for summary judgment on a variety of grounds. One of these is Warner's argument that Havens' copyright claims should be dismissed because he has failed to prove that he owned registered copyrights in "Freedom" and "Handsome Johnny" at any time relevant to his claims. "Summary judgment may be granted if, upon reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant, the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Richardson v. Selsky, 5 F.3d 616, 621 (2d Cir.1993). In deciding the motion, "the court is required to draw all factual inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought." Balderman v. U.S. Veterans Admin., 870 F.2d 57, 60 (2d Cir.1989). The party seeking summary judgment "bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion" and identifying the materials in the record that "it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Once a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, however, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to "`set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
As the Second Circuit has explained:
ABKCO Music, Inc. v. Harrisongs Music, Ltd., 944 F.2d 971, 980 (2d Cir.1991) (citing 17 U.S.C. § 501(b)) (citations omitted). Furthermore, the Copyright Act provides: "no action for infringement of the copyright in any work shall be instituted until registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title." 17 U.S.C. § 411(a). Thus, "[i]n order to proceed in [a] copyright infringement action, plaintiff is required to comply with the statutory requirement that all copyrights be registered." Conan Properties, Inc. v. Mattel, Inc., 601 F.Supp. 1179, 1182 (S.D.N.Y.1984) (citation omitted); see also Kelly v. L.L. Cool J., 145 F.R.D. 32, 36 (S.D.N.Y.1992), aff'd without op., 23 F.3d 398 (2d Cir.1994), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 115 S.Ct. 365, 130 L.Ed.2d 318 (1994). "Without registration of the copyrights the suit is barred and absent an allegation that the copyrights have been registered the complaint is defective." Conan, 601 F.Supp. at 1182 (citation omitted). "A certificate of registration of copyright constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright." Princess Fabrics, Inc. v. CHF, Inc., 922 F.2d 99, 102 (2d Cir.1990) (citing 17 U.S.C. § 410(c)). However, "[i]n
The Court finds that Havens has failed to proffer evidence from which the trier of fact could reasonably conclude that he was ever the legal or beneficial owner of "Handsome Johnny" or that he was the legal or beneficial owner of "Freedom" at any time relevant to his claims. Havens has further failed to allege registration of copyrights in either composition
Instead, despite Warner's argument in its moving papers that this action must be dismissed because Havens does not own registered copyrights in the compositions, Havens has proffered only two privately conducted copyright screening searches in support of his claims. See Affidavit of Jacques Catafago in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment, Exhibit F. The search with respect to "Handsome Johnny" indicates that the composition was registered for copyright as an unpublished work in the name of Unart Music Corp. and that the assignment records of the Copyright Office contain numerous recorded instruments with respect to the composition, which are notable only for the fact that none of them purports to assign any right with respect to the composition to Havens. Havens' action with respect "Handsome Johnny" must therefore be dismissed, with prejudice, because, in the face of defendants' summary judgment motion, Havens has proffered no evidence that he has ever owned a registered copyright in "Handsome Johnny."
The search with respect to "Freedom" indicates that the composition was registered for copyright as an unpublished work in the name of Richard P. Havens, June 11, 1970. However, the search also identified several instruments of record, the first dated August 19, 1982, in connection with a musical composition of the same title that was not further identified. The search was therefore unable to confirm whether any of the recorded instruments actually referred to the song entitled "Freedom" that is at issue here. Under the circumstances, Havens has failed to proffer evidence from which the trier of fact could reasonably conclude that Havens was the legal or beneficial owner of "Freedom" at any relevant time.
Havens' First Amended Complaint is HEREBY DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to federal copyright claims that concern the song "Handsome Johnny." Havens' First Amended Complaint is HEREBY DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as
Warner's summary judgment motion is HEREBY GRANTED as to Havens' federal copyright claims with respect to "Handsome Johnny" and is otherwise HEREBY DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Warner may renew its summary judgment motion, if Havens purports to comply with the foregoing; and Warner may renew its motion for attorney's fees, in any event.