Music App News
Gone before they even started? Possibly so. Music app creator Andrew Sampson found himself in a lawsuit just three days after launching his app. Three days?!? That has to be some sort of record for the labels. And I say labels, because not one, not two, but all three of the major labels (Sony, Universal and Warner and two of its subsidiaries) hit Mr. Sampson with a lawsuit for his Aurous app. Aurous is a music app that provides its users with access to copyrighted materials from websites most likely engaged in copyright infringement. Sampson argues his site is just a one stop shop providing links to websites that may or may not offer illegally obtained material. Aurous maintains that it does not have any of its own content on the site and is therefore not liable for infringement; unfortunately this is an argument that has failed other companies before him. Let’s just hope he can afford to defend this suit because the labels aren’t playing any games this time around.
The Recording Industry Association of America just won another settlement against a digital content provider. This time Pandora is going to have to cough up $90 million for use of music created before 1972. Labels contended that Pandora violated New York state law by making public performances of works created before the copyright law was enacted and thus not protected by copyright law. Both New York and California state courts have recently determined that state law protects works created before 1972 and have awarded the content owners royalties based on their public performance right. The contents of the settlement are confidential (of course), but the one question on everyone’s mind is how much of this public performance royalty will make it to the actual performing artist’s account. Because that’s really who this is all about, right? Other major broadcasters may find themselves in a legal predicament behind this state law protection, and the outcomes of each case is certain to mean changes for copyright content owners and providers everywhere.