MusicDish e-Journal - October 19, 2018
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Simon Says: Obey Copyright Law and MPAA Resolve Lawsuit with Settlement
By Heather Johnson
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David Simon may have $50,000 less in his bank account now, but he is probably breathing a sigh of relief, considering he could have lost millions in a lawsuit filed this month by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its members.

Simon is the founder of, an Internet startup that provides VCR services. The Plaintiffs, which included Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Disney Enterprises, Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.; Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.; CPT Holdings, Inc.; Columbia Pictures Television Inc.; TriStar Television, Inc.; TriStar Pictures, Inc.; ELP Communications; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Universal City Studios, Inc. and Warner Bros.; asked the court to grant an injunction against to stop illegal copying, unauthorized performances, and violation of trademark of U.S. copyrighted films and television programs owned by plaintiffs. The MPAA-led group sought damages of $150,000 dollars for each television show recorded over the Internet. denied the allegations, denied any damages, and filed a Counter-claim asking the court to declare that an online software based VCR is just as lawful as a "traditional" hardware based VCR. promotes their services as a "whole new way to tape TV shows," according to their web site. allows users to record shows through a "One-Click Recording" program, selecting shows from a TV guide. Users can then view the show on their computer using RealPlayer by returning to the site after a program has aired. Programs can also be rewound, replayed, paused and fast-forwarded as if they were played on a home VCR.

After nine months of litigation,, the MPAA, and the Major Studios resolved the case in a settlement agreement and stipulated injunction entered on April 13, 2001 in Federal Court in Los Angeles. As part of the agreement agreed to pay no damages, $50,000 dollars as a partial payment of the Studios' attorneys fees, and has agreed to not implement its online VCR using the works owned by the Major Studios absent a written agreement.

Jack Valenti, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, is pleased with the settlement and expresses strong views towards Internet-based VCR services. On the date of the announcement, Valenti commented, "[The settlement] is another giant leap forward in creating a fair and equitable marketplace on the Internet for movies, TV shows and other copyrighted programming., by way of this settlement, confirms that streaming valuable creative works without permission is 100% wrong. This settlement should make clear that one cannot create a website that does not respect Copyright Law. Such protections make possible the continued enjoyment of all of the wondrous online entertainment offerings."

With the lawsuit behind him, Simon is looking forward to growing his business, keeping proper copyright law in place. " has always wanted to work with the MPAA and its members to implement an online VCR and the cloud of litigation has always acted as a roadblock to industry cooperation and the raising of venture capital," Simon said. "I am hopeful that one day, the right balance between copyright protection, security, and consumer access will be achieved, such that software based Internet VCRs will become a regular part of everyday life."


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