Alison J. Nathan
|Alison J. Nathan|
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|Current Court Information:|
|United States District Court for the Southern District of New York|
|Appointed by:||Barack Obama|
|Active:||10/13/2011 - Present|
|Preceded by:||Sidney Stein|
|Undergraduate:||Cornell, B.A., 1994|
|Law School:||Cornell Law, J.D., 2000|
Alison J. Nathan is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama. Before joining the court, Nathan was a Special Counsel to the Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York.
Early life and education
After graduating, Nathan served as a law clerk to the Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 2000 to 2001 and then as a law clerk for the Honorable John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court of the United States from 2001 to 2002. Nathan worked as an associate in the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr from 2002 to 2006. From 2006 to 2009 she worked as an academic, first as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Fordham University Law School and then as a Fritz Alexander Fellow at New York University School of Law. In 2009, she served as a Special Assistant to President Obama and an Associate White House Counsel, before becoming Special Counsel to the Solicitor General in the of the State of New York in 2010.
Southern District of New York
|Court:||Southern District of New York|
|Progress:||Confirmed 196 days after nomination.|
Nathan was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President Obama on March 31, 2011. Obama commented on the nomination, stating, “Alison Nathan is a distinguished individual who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice throughout her career. I am grateful for her decision to serve the American people from the District Court bench.”
She had her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 8, 2011. You can find her Committee Questionnaire available here and her Questions for the Record available here. On July 14, 2011 her nomination was reported to the full Senate.
She was confirmed on October 13, 2011 by a senate vote of 48-44.
Beastie Boys illegal sampling case (2013)
*TufAmerica, Inc. v. Diamond, et al 1:12-cv-03529-AJN
Nathan presided over a copyright infringement case filed against the Beastie Boys by record licensing entity TufAmerica. The company alleged that in the 1980s, the hip-hip group illegally sampled music from the band Trouble Funk, an R&B group whose licensing rights are owned by the company. TufAmerica claimed the Beastie Boys illegally used six samples of Trouble Funk’s music for a total of 20 seconds, thus infringing upon the R&B group’s rights. The Beastie Boys moved to dismiss the claims.
Nathan was tasked with the duty of determining how the song samples ought to be compared. The Beastie Boys requested that the ordinary observer test be applied, while TufAmerica requested that the fragmented literal similarity test be applied. Nathan agreed with TufAmerica, noting that "[t]he real question at this stage - more so than the question of how to label the relevant test - is whether (as to each sample) plaintiff has plausibly alleged that the sample is quantitatively and qualitatively important to the original work such that the fragmented similarity becomes sufficiently substantial for the use to become an infringement.”Nathan ruled that four of the six samples failed to rise to the level of infringement, but that the remaining two may pass the muster of the fragmented literal similarity test. In doing so, however, she limited TufAmerica’s claims to the three-year statute of limitations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Act, declaring that the licensing entity could not seek monetary damages for any alleged instances of infringement that had occurred before May 12, 2009.
- Biography of Alison J. Nathan on the Federal Judicial Center website
- White House Press Release "President Obama Names Alison J. Nathan as Nominee for the United States District Court," March 31, 2011
- White House Press Release "Nominations Sent to the Senate, 3/31/11," March 31, 2011
- 112th Senate Nomination Materials
- 112th Senate Confirmations
- Huffington Post, "Beastie Boys Lawsuit: Group Sued Over Alleged Copyright Infringement On 'Licensed To Ill' & 'Paul's Boutique'," May 8, 2012
- Courthouse News Service, "Copyright Claims May Stick to Beastie Boys," September 11, 2013
- Billboard, "Beastie Boys’ 'Paul's Boutique' Sampling Lawsuit: The Fine Print," September 13, 2013
- Bloomberg Law, "No Relief for Pre-2009 Alleged Infringement Of Funk Rock Records by the Beastie Boys," September 11, 2013
- New York Law Journal, "Decision: TufAmerica, Inc., Plaintiff v. Diamond, et al," September 12, 2013
|Federal judicial offices|
|Southern District of New York
|Vacancy Count by Congress|
|Vacancy Count by Year||Federal Vacancy Warning System: 2009 • Federal Vacancy Warning System: 2010 • Federal Vacancy Warning System: 2011 • Federal Vacancy Warning System: 2012|