No deal – so Universal take on MySpace

December 2006

Internet, record labels

Universal Music Group may have reached an agreement with YouTube, Google and now Microsoft’s Zunes about legal content use but has now filed a lawsuit against popular social networking site MySpace for infringing copyrights of thousands of its artists’ works.

Universal , owned by Vivendi, filed the suit at the US District Court Central District ofCalifornia,Western Division. The lawsuit accuses MySpace, owned by News Corp, itself of course a champion of copyright laws (!) of allowing users to upload videos illegally and taking part in the infringement by re-formatting the videos to be played back or sent to others saying MySpace “encourages, facilitates and participates in the unauthorized reproduction, adaptation, distribution and public performance. The action points in particular to features of MySpace that enable users to store copies of videos on their profile pages, and to access copyright material without permission. The suit comes at a time when Universal’s talks with MySpace had broken down and with a leak of Jay-Z’s album onto MySpace . However (and remarkably a t the same time!) MySpace unveiled an enhanced copyright protection tool to make it easier for content owners to remove unauthorized material. MySpace described Universal’s action as “meritless litigation,” saying in a statement its procedures for removing illegal downloads lived up to laws protecting digital rights. Last month Universal Music sued two smaller video sharing sites, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Grouper and independent site Bolt.

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