Publishers launch action against lyric sites

September 2009

Music publishing, internet

The US National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has filed copyright infringement lawsuits against two businesses which publish unlicensed lyrics for profit through their websites. The lawsuits, headed up by Peermusic, Warner/Chappell and Bug Music, allege that LiveUniverse, Inc. and its owner Brad Greenspan, and Motive Force LLC and its owner Sean Colombo, engage in wilful copyright infringement. The suits were filed in filed in the Federal Courts of the Central District of California and Western District of Pennsylvania and seek equitable relief and damages for the infringing companies unlicensed use of the lyrics on their respective Web sites and in conjunction with certain web applications. NMPA president David Israelite said “these sites are profiting on the backs of songwriters. It is unfortunate that copyright holders must so frequently divert energies to protect their rights to license and distribute their works. However, the demand for music prompts a seemingly endless stream of illegal business models” adding “Music fans are the biggest losers when licensed businesses, like LyricFind, Gracenote and TuneWiki can’t survive and prosper because unlicensed, illegal businesses are allowed to thumb their noses at the law …we are confident the courts will conclude that, like Napster and Grokster before them, these sites are simply freeloading off artists and fans.”

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