The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed separate copyright-infringement lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against MTVi Group, MusicMatch,

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed separate copyright-infringement lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against MTVi Group, MusicMatch, and XACT Radio, Billboard Bulletin reports. In late May, the RIAA also filed a similar suit against Launch's Web radio service, Launchcast, which it says contains interactive elements that are not covered under its licensing agreements with certain labels.

The new suits, filed Friday (June 8), are in response to a California motion filed June 1 by the Digital Media Association (DiMA) -- whose members include the plaintiffs. The Webcasters are seeking clarification of Web radio licensing rules, while the RIAA contends that the interactive aspects of the sites continue to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA).

"DiMA's decision to sue left us with little choice but to take this action," said Cary Sherman, general counsel for the RIAA, in a statement. Stating that they are in full compliance with the DMCA, MTVi and MusicMatch, in separate statements, called the RIAA's action "unnecessary."

At issue is whether "personalizing" is the same as "interactivity," since interactive music streaming services do not qualify for automatic (or "statuatory") Webcasting licenses. Webcasters that do not qualify for a statutory license must negotiate directly with individual record labels and copyright owners, a more complicated, time-consuming and most likely expensive option. The statutory license allows Webcasters to broadcast music for a fee to be set by a federal copyright panel.

"The Digital Media Association is disappointed that the recording industry has chosen to initiate another in a long line of lawsuits," DiMA executive director Jonathan Potter said in a statement. "DiMA and Webcasters have asked the courts to make a determination on this issue. Rather than wait for the courts to decide, the recording industry has initiated unnecessary and punitive actions against Webcasters over an honest dispute of the Copyright Act. We hope to resolve these issues quickly."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print