Bumpin’ Bus Stop Sampling Swerves Around Copyright Infringement

David Pryor wrote the musical composition “Bumpin’ Bus Stop” in 1974.  His band, The Play Boys, recorded the song at Gold Future Recording Studio.  Pryor distributed copies of “Bumpin’ Bus Stop” to radio stations and distributors.  Pryor did not file a copyright registration for the Gold Future record.  Pryor wanted more exposure for “Bumpin Bus Stop.”  In 1975, Private Stock Records, with Pryor’s consent, remastered and shorted the Gold Future recording, changed the name of Pryor’s band to “Thunder and Lightning” and distributed the record under Private Stock’s own label.  Private Stock received copyright registrations for both the recording and the underlying musical composition.  Pryor died in 2006.

Douglas Uttal, Private Stock’s successor in interest, granted Zomba Recording a limited license to sample the Private Stock record in July 2006.  Zomba, Sony Music Entertainment and Wyclef Jean produced a musical recording and video called “Step Up,” which sampled “Bumpin’ Bus Stop.”  Disney, Buena Vista, and Summit Entertainment featured “Step Up” in a film with the same name.  Private Stock assigned all of its rights in “Bumpin’ Bus Stop” to Pryor’s heirs in October 2012.  Pryor’s heirs filed a copyright infringement action against fourteen defendants in April 2012.  The district court recently granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s third amended complaint.

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