Here is the latest on the lawsuit brought against WWE by James D. Papa, the Texas songwriter and musician who is suing the company, Michael “Hayes” Seitz and others for allegedly using “Badstreet, USA” and other 1990s WCW Slamjam-era theme songs without permission or compensation.
Back on July 31st, Papa filed a motion, looking to appeal decisions made against him in the lawsuit after having his then-attorneys replaced. He also claimed that he had very little communication with his former attorneys, even when legal rulings were made against his case, receiving “little of substance” from them. He also claimed n that motion that he was not informed that several of the defendants, including Seitz, had been dismissed from the lawsuit or that WWE had tried to get the case remanded from the State of Texas to another jurisdiction.
In their latest filing on August 26th, WWE argued the following:
* That Papa had been given 30 days after the dismissal of the defendants to argue as to why they should be reinstated. Papa did not and waited until 77 days later to file anything.
* That while Papa claims he had not been properly represented by his former attorneys, they and WWE were in communication in regard to whether they intended to file an amended pleading with the court and at one point, told the court they were undecided on whether they intended to re-plead the case. They also state that his new counsel is simply “second-guessing” the former counsel’s decision not to re-plead the case and that doing so would be a waste of the court’s time.
* That none of Papa’s re-pleaded complaints would overrule the court’s previous decision to dismiss the case against Michael Hayes and composer Jim Johnston as well as the copyright infringement complaint that was dismissed against all of the Defendants.
* That the latest filing from Papa should not overrule the court’s previous ruling that Texas did not hold jurisdiction over Hayes and Johnston should still stand.
* That Hayes had previous submitted an affidavit with the court noting that he and Papa co-wrote the music in question, that Hayes performed lead vocals for “Badstreet USA” and that Hayes has not had an “substantive contacts” in Texas in over 25 years. WWE also argued that Turner Music (for WCW) had placed the songs into the retail market, not Hayes, so Hayes cannot be sued for damages in the State of Texas over WWE using the music.
* In the case of Johnston, WWE claims the argument for suing him is “legally deficient” as Papa argues that Johnston has “knowingly benefited” from the Texas market since a derivate version of “Badstreet, USA” was used instead of Papa’s song on the THQ Legends of Wrestlemania videogame and with songs Papa claims ownership of being registered with BMI under Johnston’s name. WWE argued that none of that can be connected directly from Johnston to the Texas market, so he is out of their jurisdiction.
* WWE also claimed that Papa has not established that his “causes of action arose from any of [Hayes’] or Johnston’s contacts with Texas.”
* WWE also noted that the court has previously ruled that Papa living in Texas cannot predicate the court’s jurisdiction on Hayes and Johnston.
* WWE also argued that Papa failed to serve Hayes and Johnston with the lawsuit in the time required and that the court refused to extend Papa additional time.
* In regard to allegedly infringing on Papa’s copyrights via the creation of the new song for the WWE Legends of Wrestlemania videogame, using the music on ringtones and in DVD and Video on Demand programming, WWE argued that the court has already dismissed those claims and Papa did not present any new argument that would force the court to reinstate them.