Investigations into Comedian Class Action: Protecting Comedic Rights | Audet & Partners, LLP

Comedian Class Action

Audet & Partners, LLP is pursuing claims as part of a comedian class action that prominent streaming services, including Pandora, have illegally deprived comedians of significant royalty payments.  In addition, specific evidence suggests that this behavior has been willful and may subject these services to statutory damages and attorneys fees incurred by comedians to recover unpaid royalties.

Streaming services, for years, have sought to avoid royalty payments to comedians by arguing that comic performers are not entitled to copyright protection for their intellectual property consisting of their underlying verbal compositions or jokes.  This approach is in direct contrast to musicians who are compensated not only for their tangible recordings, but also for their underlying original content.

Evidence that the streaming services may have willfully denied these royalties to comedians exists in SEC filings by Pandora between 2011 and 2017 when the company recognized the potential of “significant liability for copyright infringement” that could arise from its failure to properly license underlying literary works such as content created by comedians.

The law firm is no longer accepting clients in this case.

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