EMI Music Publishing has filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against video-game giant Electronic Arts for copyright infringement. According to the complaint, EA used 20 EMI-owned songs in its video g

EMI Music Publishing has filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against video-game giant Electronic Arts for copyright infringement.

According to the complaint, filed yesterday (April 21) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, EA used 20 EMI-owned songs in its video games without obtaining the appropriate licenses or paying licensing fees.

EMI is seeking damages of $150,000 per song as well as an injunction to bar EA from marketing or selling the infringing games.

Some of the games named in the suit are "Nascar 2004," "Fight Night 2004," "NBA Live 2004," "Madden 2004" and a Tiger Woods golf game.

Historically, video games have used music to set the tone and pace during game play. But that trend has expanded and companies like EA now use musical compositions and recordings to market their games, EMI contends.

To this end, EA in August 2000 launched a division called EA Trax, a marketing initiative using music to promote video games. Steve Schnur, a former EMI executive, was named to head the group.

The case alleges that EA engaged in a "widespread, systematic and willful infringement" of EMI's rights in numerous compositions to boost sales of its games.

An EA spokeswoman comments, "We have agreements for every song used in our games. This entire lawsuit is related to a single song that samples lyrics from another song. Our use of that song was licensed directly from the artist. Every artist that contributes music to our games gets compensated."