Evidence from Wikipedia Inadmissible on Summary Judgment

From Straughter v. Raymond, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93068 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2011) (summary judgment motion):

Plaintiff claims that he has been a professional musician for more than forty years, composing and performing musical works in a variety of musical genres. *** Sometime around 1997 or 1998, plaintiff and his brother, David Straughter, ("the Straughters") were introduced to Warren Griffin III, professionally known as "Warren G," through Warren G's uncle, "Wron G." *** According to plaintiff, Wron G contacted him in May 1998, and asked him to "sweeten" some recordings, by adding strings, keyboards, and background parts, for an album by a group called "Reel Tight." *** Plaintiff agreed.... Plaintiff claims that he began composing a song entitled "The Reasons Why" ("Reasons") in March or April 1998, and completed it in May 1998, during a break in one of his sessions with Reel Tight.... According to plaintiff, when the members of Reel Tight returned to the studio from the break, they heard him playing "Reasons" and wanted to record it, which they did. ***

In June 1998, plaintiff registered a copyright for the song "Reasons" with the Copyright Office as an unpublished musical composition.... Plaintiff used a copy of the "Reasons" recording he received from either Warren G or Wron G as the deposit copy for the registration.... Plaintiff included his brother as a co-author on the copyright registration as a "goodwill gesture."... The song "Reasons" was included on Reel Tight's album "Back to the Real" (the "Album"), under the name "No More Pain" ("Pain"). *** The Album was released in late 1998 or early 1999, and Warren G was the Album's executive producer. ***

Defendants Dupri, Cox, and Raymond co-wrote and recorded the song "Burn" over several days in 2003 at Dupri's Southside Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.... According to defendants, Raymond created the song's concept and title, Dupri and Cox co-produced it, and all three contributed to its music and lyrics. ..2. The final version of "Burn" was completed on May 8, 2003.... "Burn" appeared on Raymond's March 2004 album "Confessions." ***

Plaintiff alleges that "Burn" infringes his copyright to the musical composition "Reasons."***

As an initial matter, the Court must address defendants' argument that the majority of plaintiff's evidence regarding Warren G's access to defendants is inadmissible.... Defendants contend that plaintiff has no personal knowledge of the collaborations between Dupri and Warren G on Dupri's album "Life in 1472," and that much of plaintiff's testimony is based upon hearsay statements by undisclosed authors of Wikipedia and other internet websites. Id. at 10-11 (citing Straughter Decl., Exhs. I, J, L, M, O-R).

The Court finds that plaintiff may not rely upon Wikipedia and other unverified internet websites as admissible evidence of facts supporting his third party intermediary theory. See generally Crispin v. Christian Audigier, Inc., 717 F. Supp. 2d 965, 976 n.19 (C.D. Cal. 2010) (summarizing evidentiary dangers of relying upon Wikipedia as authoritative evidence).

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