The Korean Assn. of Phonogram Producers said Monday (April 24) that it had filed a criminal lawsuit against Korean Air, the nation's largest airline, for offering unauthorized songs to its passengers.

The Korean Assn. of Phonogram Producers said Monday (April 24) that it had filed a criminal lawsuit against Korean Air, the nation's largest airline, for offering unauthorized songs to its passengers.

In papers filed with the Seoul District Court, the collecting society has accused Korean Air of not playing music files in its planes and airport lounges without the appropriate license. KAPP claims it has requested the airline to stop using such music since 2004.

Korean Air has effectively denied responsibility, saying that the issue was with an outside contractor, Morning Ad, which has supplied music for its customers.

The airline said it severed ties with Morning Ad in November 2005, in large part because of the matter, and had voluntarily approached the Ministry of Culture and Tourism's copyright violation board to mediate the compensation issue.

"If it is determined that Korean Air is responsible of any wrongdoing, the airline will follow legal procedures to resolve the issues," the airline said in a statement.

KAPP responded that it was considering legal action against Morning Ad, but its disagreement with Korean Air was a separate matter. "What we are really focusing on is that KA has operated their music service since 2004," said Choi Young-eun, head of international relations at KAPP, in an email.

"From that moment, we requested they stop using our music and to use music through a legal means. KA repeatedly received out notices to stop using our music illegally, but they ignored us," he added.

KAPP declined to discuss the amount it was seeking in compensation.