Richard S. Busch



Tel: (615) 726-5422

Richard S. Busch

Richard S. Busch is a Partner in the Litigation Section and is Head of the Entertainment and Intellectual Property Sections of King & Ballow. His practice areas include Litigation (State and Federal), Entertainment Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Commercial Litigation. Prior to joining the firm, 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 clients in numerous trial 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 entitled him and F.B.T. to 50 percent 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 has represented 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 Music and Westbound, including a finding of willful copyright infringement against the Defendants, all arising from the "sampling" in the Notorious B.I.G. song Ready To Die. Mr. Busch also represented Bridgeport Music in a copyright infringement trial against Universal Music involving the unlawful copying of portions of the Bridgeport Music'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 Music committed willful copyright infringement when it copied the signature phrase from Atomic Dog without permission, rejecting Universal Music'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.

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 in the song Blurred Lines.

Most recently, Mr. Busch obtained an arbitration award of $5.8 million in favor of fitness personality Jillian Michaels in a case against Lions Gate for the unauthorized placement of Ms. Michaels’ fitness videos on YouTube in violation of the distribution agreement between the parties.

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 also secured summary judgment and a 9th Circuit affirmance in favor of his client Robert “Shep” Pettibone who wrote Madonna’s iconic hit song “Vogue,” and who was sued along with Madonna and their music publishers for copyright infringement. The Ninth Circuit decision affirming dismissal of that action can be found here. Thereafter, Mr. Pettibone’s publisher, Warner/Chappell, claimed that he was required to indemnify them for their legal costs related to defending the action, and kept Mr. Pettibone’s royalties of nearly $1 million to reimburse itself for those legal costs. Mr. Busch secured a Second Circuit Court of Appeals judgment in favor of Mr. Pettibone finding that Warner/Chappell breached its contract with Mr. Pettibone by keeping those royalties, and ordering Warner/Chappell to release those royalties to Mr. Pettibone with interest. The link to that decision may be found here.

Click the links below to read articles discussing that decision:
The Hollywood Reporter
Digital Music News

Mr. Busch is currently representing numerous music publishers, owning thousands of musical compositions, in litigation against Spotify, Inc., alleging that Spotify made their songs available on Spotify without securing the necessary mechanical licenses, and alleging that Spotify committed willful copyright infringement by doing so. Mr. Busch’s clients in that litigation include Bob Gaudio (Four Seasons, Jersey Boys), BlueWater Music Publishing, the Songwriter’s Guild of America, and Thomas Dolby.

Please click the links below to read press reports about these cases:
Digital Music News
The Hollywood Reporter

Click the links below to read articles discussing this litigation:
Law 360

Education & Court Admissions

J.D., Loyola University Law School
B.A., Augustana College

Licensed in: Tennessee, New York, California
Admitted to practice: U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits; U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, Southern District of New York, and Eastern District of Michigan

Awards & Accolades

Mr. Busch was recently interviewed on Young Country (YoCo) Radio.
Listen to the interview here.

Richard Busch was named by Billboard Magazine on the "2018 Top Music Lawyers" list.
See the list here (p. 15).

In 2018, Mr. Busch was honored by the National Law Journal on its annual list of “Trailblazers.”
Click here to see the National Law Journal's review of Mr. Busch.

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 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. He was also named by Variety Magazine on their Power 50 list as one of the top 50 entertainment lawyers in the country in 2015. Mr. Busch was named by Billboard Magazine on the 2017 "Top Music Lawyers" list, and as one of the “Music's Most Powerful Attorneys” in 2015, where he was one of only four litigators named. He was also named by Billboard Magazine on their Power 100 list as one of the most influential people in the music business in 2012. 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.

Mr. Busch, represented fitness personality Jillian Michaels in a case against Lion's Gate regarding the posting of her videos to YouTube. On May 10, 2017, Mr. Busch prevailed in that case, with the Arbitrator awarding Ms. Michaels $5.7 million in damages, and ordering that her content be removed from YouTube. Links reporting on that decision can be viewed here:

The Hollywood Reporter
USA Today

"Blurred Lines" Press Coverage

Richard Busch is host of Blurred Laws & Life, a weekly podcast featuring cutting edge legal issues that helps you see things clearly in music, entertainment, digital media, sports, and everything in between.
Listen here.

Mr. Busch was recently interviewed by Digital Music News about the "Blurred Lines" trial and appeal, and other of his cases.
Read the article here.
The interview may be heard here.

Richard Busch was quoted in Bloomberg Law about the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' denial of a rehearing in the "Blurred Lines" case.
Read the article here.

Mr. Busch was quoted in The Hollywood Reporter regarding the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' vote to deny a rehearing of the "Blurred Lines" case.
Read the article here.

Richard Busch was quoted on Law.com about his legal background, experience with copyright infringement cases, and the ‘Blurred Lines’ appeal.
Read the article here.

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.

Richard Busch was quoted in USA Today regarding the 'Blurred Lines' case. That article can be found here.

Miscellaneous Appearances

Mr. Busch was named by Billboard Magazine on the "2021 Top Music Lawyers" list.
See the list here.

Richard Busch was recently featured on the podcast, Take a Knee.
Listen to episode 296 here.

Mr. Busch was recently featured on the podcast, The Lawyer Stories Podcast Episode Eighteen.
Listen to episode 18 here.

Richard Busch was profiled in Billboard's 2020 Top Music Lawyers.
Read more details here.

Mr. Busch was highlighted in a Rolling Stone article.
Read it here.

Mr. Busch was quoted/cited in several articles relating to the copyright infringement lawsuit against Marshmello, in which he represents Producer, DJ Artem Stoliarov (aka “ARTY”).
Read the EDMTUNES article here.
Read the Rolling Stone article here.
Read the USA Today article here.
Read the Tennessean article here.

Richard Busch was quoted in The Hollywood Reporter about a dispute over attorneys' fees in Madonna's "Vogue."
Read the article here.

Mr. Busch was recently cited in The Hollywood Reporter about the new defamation lawsuit filed against the parent company of the Daily Mail.
Read the article here.

Richard Busch was cited in The Tennessean about the "Say You Won't Let Go" case.
Read the article here.

Mr. Busch was recently interviewed by the BBC in London about U.S. Copyright Law and some of the recent cases on which he has worked.
Listen to the interview here.

Richard Busch was cited in The Hollywood Reporter about Ed Sheeran settling the lawsuit over the hit song Photograph.
Read the article here.

Mr. Busch most recently obtained a favorable decision by the United States Court of Appeals, reversing the district court, and holding that the author of the "Iron Man Theme" from Marvel's "Iron Man" television show, and movies, had submitted sufficient evidence that his creation was not a "work for hire" in order to proceed to trial on his copyright infringement claim. The full decision can be accessed here.

Richard Busch was quoted in Rolling Stone Magazine on the new 'Stairway to Heaven' case.
Read the article here.

Richard Busch was quoted in The Washington Post on the new 'Ed Sheeran' case.
Read the article here.

Mr. Busch has been quoted in the New York Times on copyright related issues.
Read an article here.

Mr. Busch is frequently asked to discuss legal issues on Fox Business News. He recently appeared to discuss the class action lawsuits filed against Manny Pacquiao, and others, related to the alleged non-disclosure of a shoulder injury prior to the  fight against Floyd Mayweather.
Watch the video here.

Richard Busch appeared on America’s Newsroom this morning to discuss Bill Cosby’s 2005 admission to purchasing Quaaludes to drug women.
Watch the video here.

Richard Busch was quoted in Buzzfeed regarding Kesha's legal battle with Dr. Luke.
Read the full article here.