Ninth Circuit Will Not Rehear Bob Marley Case

On January 22, 2014, the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc filed by Universal Music Group (UMG) in a case involving licensing rights to Bob Marley’s music. I wrote about the decision in my monthly newsletter, Business Litigation Matters, here. To recap, the Ninth Circuit originally held that Rock River did not have to prove that it did not have a valid business expectancy in order to proceed with its intentional interference with prospective economic advantage (IIPEA) claim. Both UMG and Rock River claimed that they held the licensing rights to Marley’s music. Rock River sued UMG for under an IIPEA claim after UMG sent letters to Rock River’s business partners, urged them to withdraw from negotiating with Rock River and even threatened to sue if one of the business partners used Marley’s music without UMG’s consent. After the district court held for UMG, Rock River appealed. The Ninth Circuit disagreed with the district court’s conclusion that Rock River had the burden of showing that it held the licenses to use Marley’s music and remanded the case for trial. With the rehearing petition denied, UMG may seek review by the Supreme Court.