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Jamaican resumes legal battle against Madonna this week

BY PAT ROXBOROUGH-WRIGHT Editor-at-Large Western Bureau roxboroughp@jamaicaobserver.com
Sunday, April 08, 2007

Aisha Goodison, the Jamaican musician who sued American pop star Madonna in 2005 for copyright infringement, will file an amended copy of the suit in the American Supreme Court this week.

GOODISON. filed suit in 2005

The final draft of suit CIV-05-22618, which Goodison, daughter of popular Jamaican musicologist, Bunny Goodison, first filed in a Florida federal court in 2005, was amended, Goodison said, to correct technical flaws relating to the size of the font in which the document was filed.

"The substance of the suit hasn't changed, it's just that some legal formalities had to be complied with," Goodison told the Sunday Observer in an interview from her home in Miami, Florida.

This week's step will represent the third round in the battle which Goodison, who is representing herself, lost on appeal from the federal court's decision last year.

According to court documents obtained by the Sunday Observer, the 60-page suit, supported by 200 pages of evidence, that Goodison filed against Madonna and approximately 90 of her associates and affiliated entities, accused them of violating United States and United Nations copyright law in respect of material from her personal catalogue of over 9,000 songs, over 100 scripts and short stories, 12 book manuscripts, 100 music video treatments and dozens of photograph treatments.

In addition to allegations of harassment, wiretapping, computer hacking and other forms of criminal conduct, the suit named 24 instances of copyright infringement by Madonna and companies associated with her.

At the top of the list is The Princess Diaries 2, a movie released in 2005, followed by the movies:
The Prince and Me (parts 1&2 also released in 2005);
. Sam's Lake (2005);
. Gravedancers (2005);
. Material Girls (2005);
. Valentine's Day (2006);
. American Dreamz (2006);
. Goal (2006);
. My Sister's Keeper (2006);
. Blond Ambition (2007);
. Rude Buay (2007); and
. Tonight He Comes (2007).

The suit goes on to allege that other works, including the song American Life, sung by Madonna in 2003; Orange County Girl by Madonna's cousin, Gwen Stefani (2006); Confessions On A Dance Floor (2005); a backdrop from Madonna's 2004 Re-invention world tour and 2006 Confessions world tour, also represented infringements of Goodison's copyright.
However, the suit was thrown out of court on December 21, 2005 - the same day it was filed - by federal court judge Marcia Cooke.

Cooke's decision was upheld by the eleventh circuit of the US Appeals court last year.
In the meantime, Goodison and her family, which includes world-famous poet Lorna Goodison, and Jamaican playwright and journalist Barbara Gloudon, are looking for a lawyer to represent her at the next hearing.

Depending on the Supreme Court's decision - expected to be handed down in three months - this hearing could take place before nine justices at the Supreme level in Washington or be bounced back for a rehearing in the federal court.

If the case goes to Washington, the justices' decision would be final. If it's bounced back to the federal court, then the process which started in 2005 would begin again, ie, a judge would hear it and settle it in her favour or not, paving the way for an appeal by either party.

Goodison said yesterday that she was prepared to fight the case no matter what.
"If we find a lawyer that can take the case without a conflict of interest, that is, a lawyer who is not connected to our opponents, then fine," she said. "If we can't, I'll present it myself."

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/html/20070407T220000