Music Publishers Sue Online Music Service MediaNet
February 15, 2008 at 5:32 AM (PT)
Several members of the NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHERS' ASSOCIATION filed a class action copyright infringement lawsuit against MEDIANET, a company that powers digital music services for MICROSOFT, YAHOO, MTV and others, claiming they failed to obtain proper licenses for use of songwriters' and publishers' works. DMWMEDIA.COM reports MEDIANET DIGITAL (formerly called MUSICNET) was originally formed in 2001 by several major record labels in partnership with AOL and REALNETWORKS, and later sold to private equity firm BAKER CAPITAL in 2005.
The plaintiffs in the suit -- including SONY/ATV SONGS, PEER INTERNATIONAL, FRANK MUSIC CORPORATION and MPL PUBLISHING -- claim that MEDIANET's new owners have refused to enter into a similar licensing agreement that its previous owners did.
The lawsuit comes as the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD is hearing arguments from labels, songwriters, music publishers, and digital music services, to determine mechanical royalty rates for use of music on services such as MEDIANET.
"This is a flagrant and egregious violation of the agreements music publishers were willing to make in order to allow new business models to flourish to the benefit of music fans," said NMPA Pres./CEO DAVID ISRAELITE. "These companies are now jeopardizing these services and acting not only in a manner harmful to songwriters and music publishers, but to consumers as well."