Few pop culture bits have a higher daytime visibility than the so-called “dance over” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a segment where the 3-million-viewers-a-day talk show host, accompanied by popular music, shimmies over to her desk following an opening monologue. However, a group of record labels is looking to cut the music on DeGeneres' gangly gag.
According to papers filed on Wednesday in Nashville's District Court, 17 labels have banded together to slap The Ellen DeGeneres Show and its parent companies with a lawsuit alleging the production has used “well over one thousand sound recording owned or controlled by Plaintiffs” without permission.
The coalition — which includes Arista Music, Atlantic Recording Corporation, Big Beat Records, Capitol Records, Motown Record Company, Priority Records, Rhino Entertainment Company, Sire Records Company, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, Virgin Records America, Warner Bros. Recording, and Zomba Recording — says the show's producers have acted "with complete disregard" for the legal framework of the music business. Contacted by record company representatives inquiring about why they did not obtain licenses, DeGeneres' people said they “did not roll that way,” according to the filing.
Music soundtracks are part of a number of the show's sequences in addition to the iconic “dance-over,” and the show often employs “the same sound recordings in multiple episodes and multiple seasons,” according to the suit.
The suit asks for compensatory, punitive and treble damages. The plaintiffs decided to file the suit in U.S. District Court because the area is “a major music recording and production center, and the recording industry has a sizable impact on the economy in this District.” The lawsuit — which is available here — asks for a jury trial and both compensatory and punitive damages.
None of the representatives for the recording companies reached today offered any comment, nor did the plaintiffs' attorney, Timothy L. Warnock of Riley, Warnock & Jacobson.
A New York spokesperson for the show's parent company Time Warner referred an inquiry about the lawsuit to a Warner Brothers representative in Los Angeles who has not issued any comment. Neither has a publicist for DeGeneres. NashvillePost.com will update this story if any of the defendants comment later today.
I swear to God, copyright infringements anger me