According to a recent decision¹ issued by the 4th Business Court of Rio de Janeiro, the commercial use of excerpts from musical compositions on clothing articles, without prior authorization, infringes copyrights and, therefore, results in civil damages.
In this case, Carmelo Maia, heir and holder of Tim Maia’s copyrights, filed a lawsuit against the clothing store Reserva, due to the unauthorized use of the excerpt “guaraná & suco de caju & goiabada & sobremesa” on t-shirts. On its defense, the store argued that the words used in the t-shirts would be common in musical works, which would demonstrate lack of originality. Also, such use would constitute a paraphrase due the addition of the symbol “&”, and would not constitute copyright infringement.
The judge held that Tim Maia’s songs are widespread in Brazil, and that the expression, as a whole, would not be generic worlds. Also, it was held that the addition of the symbol “&” would not be enough to constitute a paraphrase. The defendant was ordered to refrain from selling the products, and to pay damages of approximately USD 8,200.
The decision is subject to review by the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice.
¹Lawsuit No. 0250278-57.2016.8.19.0001