Richard S. Busch - Partner
Richard S. Busch is a Partner in the Litigation Section of King & Ballow, and is the Head of the Firm's Entertainment and Intellectual Property practice group. Prior to joining the firm in 1991, Mr. Busch served as law clerk to the Honorable John V. Parker, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
Mr. Busch received his law degree from Loyola University Law School where he was a member of the Loyola University Law Review and the Moot Court Board, serving as Spring National Team coach. In addition, Mr. Busch received the American Jurisprudence Award for Secured Transactions and the Fishman Award as the outstanding commercial law student.
Mr. Busch has successfully represented music clients in numerous trials and appellate court cases. In the action styled F.B.T. Productions, LLC v. Aftermath Records, et al., Mr. Busch represented the plaintiff, who discovered, produced, and co-wrote some of recording artist Eminem’s biggest hits, in the landmark case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit entered judgment in favor of F.B.T., finding that the agreements between record label Universal and digital download providers like iTunes, are licenses, and Eminem’s recording agreement entitles him and F.B.T. to 50% of Universal’s net receipts for sales by iTunes and others of Eminem songs. The full decision may be found at 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 18450 (9th Cir. Sept. 3, 2010). Mr. Busch is currently representing many other artists in similar lawsuits and in connection with similar claims.
Mr. Busch also represented Eminem’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style in a copyright infringement action against Apple, Inc., and Aftermath Records, in a trial involving whether Apple obtained the necessary publishing licenses allowing it to make Eminem songs available for digital download on iTunes. The trial settled after nearly a week of testimony.
Mr. Busch also represented Bridgeport Music, Inc., and Westbound Records, Inc., in a copyright infringement action against Bad Boy Records, the record label owned by Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Universal Music in a trial that resulted in a $4.4 million jury award in favor of Bridgeport and Westbound, including a finding of willful copyright infringement against the defendants, all arising from the "sampling" of Bridgeport and Westbound's music in the Notorious B.I.G. song Ready To Die. Mr. Busch also represented Bridgeport in a copyright infringement trial against Universal Music involving the unlawful copying of portions of the Bridgeport's song Atomic Dog. The jury returned a finding of willful copyright infringement against the defendants in that action as well. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit later affirmed the decision, finding that copyright infringement may occur by the copying of a single common word such as "Dog," if the alleged infringer uses that word in the new composition in the same way as it was used in the original musical composition. The Sixth Circuit also found that Universal committed willful copyright infringement when it copied the signature phrase from Atomic Dog without permission, rejecting Universal's Fair Use, and De Minimis defenses. The full decision may be found at Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. UMG Recordings, Inc., 585 F.3d 267 (6th Cir. 2009). Billboard Magazine identified this decision as one of the five most important judicial decisions of 2009, and noted that it will change the way the music industry operates.
Mr. Busch was also lead counsel in the action entitled Bridgeport Music, Inc., et al. v. Dimension Films, et. al., 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 18810; 2004 FED App. 0297P (6th Cir.), where he successfully argued and obtained the landmark ruling by the United States Court of Appeals that there is no de minimis defense in a copyright infringement action to sampling or copying of a sound recording.
In the fall of 2012, Mr. Busch obtained a federal court jury verdict in favor of his client, Alvert Music, for more than $2 million, together with a finding of willful copyright infringement, against the Defendant record company, in a case involving an interplay of bankruptcy and copyright issues.
Most recently, Mr. Busch obtained a jury award of $7.4 million in favor of the heirs of Marvin Gaye against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke arising out of the unlawful copying of Marvin Gaye's classic hit "Got to Give It Up" by the song "Blurred Lines."
In addition to copyright, intellectual property, and entertainment litigation, Mr. Busch has successfully represented numerous clients in Federal Court in commercial litigation cases across the country. Mr. Busch served as lead counsel in a bad faith insurance action against Travelers’ Insurance Company in the Northern District of California, in which the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Busch's client, and against Travelers’ Insurance Company, including a punitive damage award of more than $4 million. Mr. Busch also obtained a punitive damage award in favor of his client in a malicious breach of contract action tried in Federal Court in the Northern District of Ohio. Mr. Busch also represented Tribune Company in a 600 defendant civil racketeering action in the Southern District of New York in which the defendants were accused of conspiring to file fraudulent workers' compensation claims. That case was settled prior to trial.
Mr. Busch’s practice areas include Litigation (State and Federal), Entertainment Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Commercial Litigation.
For his work on the F.B.T. case, and other litigation successes, including the recent "Blurred Lines" case, Mr. Busch was named one of the top 100 Entertainment Power Lawyers by The Hollywood Reporter in each of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, and Variety Magazine's 2015 Power 50 list of the top 50 entertainment lawyers in the country. Mr. Busch was also named to Billboard Magazine’s 2012 Power 100 list of the most influential people in the music business. Mr. Busch has also been featured, on numerous occasions, as one of the best 150 lawyers in Tennessee in Business Tennessee magazine.
Mr. Busch was featured in The Variety Legal Impact Report 2015. The feature can be seen here.
"Blurred Lines" Press Coverage
Mr. Busch's press conference following the "Blurred Lines" verdict can be seen here.
Richard Busch was interviewed twice on Fox Business News and the interviews can be found at the two links below:
Watch the first interview here.
Watch the second interview here.
Richard Busch’s interview on CNN can be seen here.
Mr. Busch was interviewed by Channel 4 News in the UK. The interview can be seen here.
A profile of Mr. Busch was also featured in the New York Times. That article can be found here.