A Reversal of Fortune: Songwriters & Music Publishers Sue Universal Music Group
NEW YORK, December 7, 2000 - In an ironic twist, Universal Records - the recent victor in a landmark copyright infringement action against online music site MP3.com - is now being sued by songwriters and music publishers who charge that Universal is engaging in exactly the same unlicensed activities that were found illegal in its own, prior litigation. The lawsuit (The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, et al. v. UMG Recordings, Inc.), filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that some of America's most beloved songs are being infringed by the on-line activities of Universal.
The prior litigation mentioned was the legendary lawsuit brought against MP3.com. All five of the major labels - Universal Music Group included – as well as the Recording Industry Association of America and others, brought suit against MP3.com. The suit was in reference to their MyMP3 feature, which essentially allowed access to lots and lots of copyrighted works through their 'Beam-It' and 'Instant Listening' services. One of the greatest ironies is the fact that UMG was the last of the big five to settle and only did so after lengthy court processes and costs. They were also the first to publicly state that they would share the winnings with the artists whose works had been 'pirated.'
According to the complaint, Universal's website, known as "Doug and Jimmy's Farm Club," offers Internet users the ability to access Universal's sound recording catalog online via the process of "streaming on demand." The record company, however, has failed to license the use of the copyrighted music embodied in these sound recordings. The plaintiffs allege that licenses must be obtained before musical compositions are reproduced in the company's database.
The various music-publishing companies, as well as the Songwriter's Guild of America, took offense to the fact that these works were not previously cleared.
The plaintiffs in the action include many of the nation's leading songwriters and music publishers, including The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, The Songwriters' Guild of America, Inc., Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Louis Alter Publications, Irving Berlin Music Company, Williamson Music Company, Freddy Bienstock Music Company, Criterion Music Corporation, Frank Music Corp., MPL Communications, Inc., Peer International Corporation, and Elvis Presley Music.
Is this a typical case of the left hand being unaware of what the right hand is doing? Imagine how red their cheeks must be after making such a stink over MP3.com. According to Inside.com's Charles C. Mann, "Universal reacted with astonishment and dismay. In a brief statement released late Thursday, the label said that it had 'not yet even seen a courtesy copy of the complaint, let alone a demand letter from the publishers stating their claim.'
Mann also states that Universal insisted they were absolutely compliant."
A visit to the Universal Music site has a press release dated December 12, 2000. In a not particularly strategic move, Universal announced that Doug Morris had renewed his contract.
Universal is insisting they are in the right and only future proceedings will tell. Let's hope it goes to court so we have something juicy to talk about!
View an online copy of the complaint filed against UMG Recordings: The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, et al. v. UMG Recordings, Inc.
Farm Club - www.farmclub.com
Inside.com - www.inside.com
Irving Berlin Music Company - www.irvingberlin.com
MP3.com - www.mp3.com
MPL Communications, Inc. - www.mplcommunications.com
NMPA - www.nmpa.org
Peer International Corporation - www.peermusic.com
RIAA - www.riaa.com
Songwriter's Guild of America - www.songwriters.org
The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization - www.rnh.com
UMG - www.universalmusic.com
Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» MP3.com & Universal - What's Behind the Deal?
- The Major Labels' Strategy Becomes Clearer
» Farmclub.com Expands Services; Partners with Eveo and Ticketmaster.com
Related News from Mi2N:
» Songwriters And Music Publishers File Copyright Infringement Suit Against Universal Records' Website
» 13 Music Label Sold to MTN
» Darcus Beese Named President Of Island Records
» ASCAP Revenues Top $1.144 Billion In 2017
» BMG Appoints New Creative Directors In Nashville
» Live.me Launches Its First Live Musical Themed Content Series
News Beat Directory
» [2018-06-23] The 2018 MIDEM Silk Road International Music Alliance Signing; International Music Industries Signing Of A Mutual Resource Sharing Agreement With Shanghai Conservatory Of Music & The China Records Group
» [2018-06-06] Screen Music Connect To Explore The Music Of Film, Television And Interactive Media; Created By James Hannigan, Award-winning Composer And Game Music Connect Co-founder, Screen Music Connect Builds On The Success Of The Sold-out Game Music Conferences
» [2018-06-05] Fred Casimir To Develop BMG's Global Recordings Business; As Well As Building BMG's European Infrastructure, Casimir Was Instrumental In Developing BMG's Recordings Business
» [2018-06-03] 13 Music Label Sold To MTN; DSN Music Spins Off Record Label To Albuquerque Music Entrepreneur's New Group
» [2018-06-02] CISAC 2018 Annual Report; A Comprehensive Overview Of The Confederation's Work To Serve 4 Million Creators And 239 Authors Societies Across The World
» [2018-06-02] MusicDish Announces A Love Electric 2018 China Tour; The Tour Will Crisscross Through China With 12 Shows In 8 Cities, Including Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Kunming, Jiaxin, Wuhan And Beijing
» [2018-06-02] Darcus Beese Named President Of Island Records; Renowned U.K. Music Executive To Join Universal Music Group's U.S. Label Leadership
» [2018-05-17] Avant-Garde Label Maybe Noise Launches In Beijing; The Official Launch Will Be On May 26 At Magnet Theater With A Performance Supporting Its First Vinyl Release: Píng Zè
» [2018-05-04] Award-Winning Lithuanian Rock Band Colours Of Bubbles "She Is The Darkness" 2018 China Tour; The Tour Will Kickoff In Shanghai Where The Band Will Represent Lithuania During The Country's Signing To The Silk Road Music Alliance
» [2018-05-01] Hollywood Heavyweights Launch New Christian Music Label; Their Debut Release, Firma Collective - Songs For Every Soul, Was Produced By Mgrdichian And Mixed By The Legendary Brian Reeves
» [2018-04-30] Pop Artist Ava King Releases New Single; Paris-born Ava King Decided To Move To Beijing Where She Wrote For One Of The Biggest Chinese Movie Production Companies, HuaYi Brothers
» [2018-04-27] NetEase Cloud Music Sign Distribution Partnership With B2 Music; Chinese Music Streaming Service To Release Billboard "Best Of Asia" Album Series
follow MusicDish on