Music Publishers Sue XM

EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Sony/ATV Music and Famous Music sued XM Satellite Radio over the XM + MP3 service. The publishers claim they want to “put an end to the pervasive and willful copyright infringement” of their compositions distributed over the service to “iPod-like devices controlled by XM.” However, it’s more about gaining leverage in their ongoing negotiations. Why the US courts have to be bogged down with this stupidity is beyond us.

“We’ve read that XM paid Oprah $55 million to develop content,” says David Israelite, president/CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Assn. “Yet they haven’t paid one penny to creators of music for copies on these devices.”

XM has argued in the past that it functions only as a radio broadcaster, licensing the compositions from performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. The publishers claim that the service does not merely broadcast recorded songs; it delivers perfect digital copies of songs for its customers to copy to the devices, create extensive libraries of the songs and replay them for as long as the listeners pay XM’s monthly fee. (First off, they’re not perfect digital copies, they’re compressed. Second how is this so much different from people recording from FM radio stations?? –Ed.) Yet XM has not licensed the right to reproduce or distribute the recorded compositions, publishers claim.

The suit, filed in the federal District Court in New York, comes one month after a judge in the same court handed major labels a partial victory in their case against XM over the service. In January, federal District Court Judge Deborah Batts denied XM’s attempt to dismiss the labels’ lawsuit. The two suits could be consolidated so the same judge would preside over both claims.

Author: FutureMusic

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