A federal judge refused WWE's motion to dismiss a copyright suit against them by James D. Papa and his company, Papa Berg Inc. The composer sued WWE, Stephanie Music Publishing Inc., Michael "P.S. Hayes" Seitz and WWE composer Jim Johnston for using the song "Badstreet USA," which he co-wrote with Seitz, and not paying royalties. The song was the Fabulous Freebirds wrestling theme and was used in the "Legends of Wrestlemania" video game.
According to Papa, he registered the song for licensing in 1983 and retained all rights. Papa had checked to see if the song was properly registered to him and his companies after video game publisher THQ contacted him about using the song in the video game. He discovered that the song was "improperly and erroneously re-registered" by WWE and given a new registration number, which resulted in WWE receiving royalties for the song, which has been used in DVDs, matches on WWE television and as ring tones on cell phones.
"The court does not doubt Papa's claim that he did not discover WWE's alleged tortious acts until late 2010, less than three years prior to the filing of the complaint," U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle wrote in denying the motion. "Nevertheless, the complaint, while alleging that defendants' registration was improper, admits on its face that all of the protected works were re-registered under the name of Michael Seitz or James Alan Johnston as songwriters and composers with Stephanie Music as publisher."
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