United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION
plaintiff, Emmanuel Adeyinka (“Adeyinka”), has
filed a Complaint and Request for Injunction (Doc. 1),
alleging copyright infringement by several defendants. This
case has been referred for pretrial management under 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) (Doc. 7). Plaintiff proceeds pro
se and in forma pauperis. At the court's
request, Adeyinka has filed a More Definite Statement of his
Claims (Doc. 15). He has also filed two duplicate pleadings
entitled “Motion For Relief” (Docs. 24 and 25),
and another entitled “Motion of Content” (Doc.
26). In addition, Adeyinka has filed a “Writ of
Objection” to the court's previous order entered on
November 20, 2018, granting him leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and directing him to pay the filing fee by making
monthly installments (Doc. 23).
Adeyinka proceeds in forma pauperis, the court is
required to screen the pleadings and dismiss the complaint,
in whole or in part, if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b). After
considering all of the pleadings and the applicable law, the
undersigned recommends that Adeyinka's motions be denied,
that his objection be overruled, and that this case be
is a resident of Houston, Texas, who has filed this lawsuit
for copyright infringement by the following defendants: (1)
Demosend; (2) Tunecore; (3) Decca Records/Universal Music
Group; (4) Patrick Zelnik; (5) Gilles Paires; (6) Eric Tony;
(7) United States Senator John Cornyn; and (8) United States
Senator Ted Cruz (Doc. 1, at 1, 3-4). Adeyinka also lists
Believe Distribution Services and Naïve Records as
defendants, although he makes no substantive allegations
against these entities (Id. at 3).
primary claims of copyright infringement are against Tunecore
and Demosend, which are digital music distributors. Adeyinka
alleges that, in 2012, he “sign[ed] up” with
TuneCore for digital distribution of a musical recording
identified as “Hip-hop Knocking at My door, ”
which Adeyinka created under the pseudonym Vers Convelly
(Doc. 15, at 1). Adeyinka explains that he signed up to
distribute his musical recordings in this manner to generate
“digital radio plays” that would earn royalties
(Id.). Adeyinka also paid three other companies that
are not defendants here (identified as “GET RADIO PLAY,
” “register my music, ” and “CAPACITY
PRODUCTION”) to register his music and play this song
on the radio (Doc. 15, at 1). Adeyinka cancelled his
distribution agreement with TuneCore at some point in 2012,
after a dispute over “collection and royalties”
2016, Adeyinka signed up for digital distribution with
Demosend, which is reportedly associated with TuneCore, for a
song called “tripping” (Doc. # 15, at 1).
Adeyinka cancelled that agreement after about a month
has identified the following content for which he has
obtained a registered copyright: (1) Safari Prime Enterprise
Inc. Project, Registration No. Sru 1-241-673; (2) Vers
Production Project, Registration No. Sru 1-143-374; (3)
AdultrobbenHood Part 2, Registration No. Pau 3-885-865; (4)
Sex Video, Registration No. Pau 3-691-586; (5) 1 how
basketball play and crossover, Vau 1-179-052 (Doc. 8, at 1;
Doc. 15, at 12-18). Adeyinka appears to allege that these
works were reproduced or used in an unauthorized manner by
“the defendants” and that he was deprived of
between “65-90 million” in “music
royalties” as a result (Doc. 15, at 3). He claims
further that the defendants generally violated the following
federal statutory provisions, which he identifies only as
“DAM, ” “SOPA, ” “DMCA, ”
and “ESO” (Doc. 1, at 2).
addition to his allegations of copyright infringement,
Adeyinka claims that he was falsely accused and imprisoned
for criminal charges lodged against him in Harris County,
Texas (Doc. 15, at 3-4). He provides little information about
those charges, referencing only an appeal in No.
01-18-00312-CR, which is associated with one of his
convictions (Doc. 1, at 5). He claims that his First and
Fourth Amendment rights were violated in connection with
these charges, although he does not say by whom (Id.
at 4). Adeyinka alleges further that he has been illegally
required to register as a sex offender because he has a prior
conviction for indecent exposure (Doc. 15, at 5).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Adeyinka is pro se, his allegations are entitled to
a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 127
S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble,
97 S.Ct. 285, 292 (1976)); see also Haines v.
Kerner, 92 S.Ct. 594, 596 (1972) (noting that
allegations in a pro se complaint, however inartfully
pleaded, are held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers). Even under this lenient
standard a plaintiff must allege more than “labels and
conclusions' or a ‘formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action[.]” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007)).
state a claim for which relief may be granted under the
federal pleading rules “[a] complaint must be plausible
on its face based on factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Whitaker v.
Collier, 862 F.3d 490, 497 (5th Cir. 2017) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). While it is not
necessary for a plaintiff to plead specific facts, he must
articulate “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). “A
pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or
‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 127
S.Ct. at 1965).
Copyright Infringement Claims
copyright holder has the exclusive right to authorize the
reproduction of his copyrighted work or, “in the case
of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly
by means of a digital audio transmission.” 17 U.S.C.
§ 106(1), (6). To establish a prima facie case
of copyright infringement, a plaintiff must show: (1) that he
owns a valid copyright in the work; and (2) that the
defendant copied original elements of the work. See
Hermosilla v. Octoscope Music, LLC, Civil Action No.
10-21990, 2010 WL 5059559, at *3 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 6, 2010)
(citing Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co., 68
F.3d 1257, 1265-66 (11th Cir. 2001)); see also Sanchez v.
Hacienda Records and Recording Studio, Inc., 42
F.Supp.3d 845, 851 (S.D. Tex. 2014) (“Copyright
infringement claims have two basic elements: (1) ownership of
a valid copyright, and (2) copying of constituent elements of
the work that are original.”) (citation ...