Court Throws Out Conspiracy Claims Against Sony, Universal, WMG, Capitol In YouTube Case
March 6, 2015 at 11:50 AM (PT)
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit claiming SONY MUSIC, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, WARNER MUSIC GROUP and CAPTIL RECORDS delayed complaining against copyright-infringing uploads to YOUTUBE in order to "extort" larger payments at a later date.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge ROY DALTON JR. relieves the defendants of claims of interfering with contractual rights and civil conspiracy.
However, the music companies still must face a claim that they violated their implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. Since the ruling, the defendants have asked for and been granted an extension of their deadline to file a motion to compel discovery by U.S. Magistrate Judge DAVID BAKER.
The dispute between the plaintiffs, ALICOR INC. and AMWAY CORP, and the defendants, goes back some 16 years, stemming from a rleated copyright infringement action between ARISTA RECORDS and AMWAY, that was partially resolved by a 1998 settlement agreement between the parties.
ALICOR and AMWAY sued the defendants in APRIL 2014, claiming the defendants failed to live up to their obligations under the settlement and have engaged in a conspiracy for the purpose of "extorting money from plaintiffs, harassing plaintiffs by requiring unnecessary infringement investigations under the agreement, and seeking 'double recovery' from plaintiffs based on the YOUTUBE uploads."
The trial court tossed most of the plaintiffs' claims, but allowed them to file amended complaint, while Judge DALTON wrote that the plaintiffs made only a few incidental changes and largely restated the claims that had already been dispensed with by the trial court.
The plaintiffs also included new allegations that each defendant is a "stranger to the agreement" with respect to every other defendants' independent obligation to plaintiffs, which was denied by the court decision.