Sony BMG Music was sued by John Jorgensen claiming that his song “Long Lost Lover” was infringed by the songs “My Heart Will Go On” and “Amazed.” He argued that his tune was stolen as he had sent out unsolicited mass mailings of the song to record companies. Rewind and repeat: he sent out unsolicited mass mailings (aka spam) of his song to record companies.
He sued in 2003 but the judge granted a motion for summary judgment agreeing that Jorgensen “had not presented sufficient evidence of access to support his claim of copyright infringement, i.e., Jorgensen had not shown a reasonable opportunity by the allegedly infringing songwriters to hear and copy Jorgensen’s unpublished song.” (Jorgensen v. Epic/Sony Records et al, U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 3 Dec 2003, 351 F.3d 46)
His appeal to the 2nd Circuit was denied as it agreed with the lower court that “corporate receipt of unsolicited work” is not evidence of a connection between those who received the emails and those alleged to have infringed the copyright. Jorgensen had no evidence to prove his claim and the defendants were able to show there was no connection. So the appeals court denied his appeal and he took it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Today that court rejected his appeal which means Jorgensen is out of luck.
The court papers state he represented himself, so at least he does not owe a lot of money to attorneys. The lesson here is simple. Sending out copies of your work via unsolicited emails is not very smart. And proving they stole your music, which you sent by mass mail, is even more difficult to prove under these circumstances. Case dismissed.