Music archive Wolfgang's Vault resolves copyright fight over concert recordings

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Pedestrians pass the James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building, home of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, California February 7, 2017. On Tuesday afternoon, the court plans to hear arguments regarding President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries. REUTERS/Noah Berger

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  • Rocker Greg Kihn sued online archive over allegedly unauthorized concert recordings
  • 9th Circuit rejected class action status earlier this month

(Reuters) - Online concert archive Wolfgang's Vault has reached an agreement to end a dispute with a musician who accused it of violating his copyrights by posting his band's concerts without permission, according to a California federal court filing.

The parties agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, which means it can't be refiled.

The stipulation follows the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to break up Greg Kihn's class action against the site earlier this month.

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Wolfgang's Vault hosts thousands of audio and video recordings of concerts by performers including the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. It and owner William Sagan have faced multiple copyright infringement lawsuits, including one brought by the Doors, Carlos Santana and others that settled in 2008, and another in which a group of publishers won nearly $200,000 from the site in 2020.

Kihn said he never approved the recording or distribution of the Greg Kihn Band's shows on Wolfgang's Vault. He sued in 2017 on behalf of himself and others whose concert recordings the site allegedly offered without permission.

The 9th Circuit reversed a decision to certify two musician classes earlier this month, finding that Kihn had failed to prove that issues common to the classes predominated over his own claims.

Wolfgang's Vault's attorney Michael Elkin said they had no comment beyond the ruling. Kihn's attorney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case is Kihn v. Wolfgang's Vault, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 4:17-cv-05343.

For Kihn: Daniel Warshaw of Pearson, Simon & Warshaw; and Neville Johnson of Johnson & Johnson

For Wolfgang's Vault: Michael Elkin of Winston & Strawn

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9th Circuit breaks up copyright class action over concert archives

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at