Round Hill Music Files $32M Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against TuneCore

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Round Hill Music's publishing arm is suing TuneCore for "willful and unauthorized use" of 219 of their sound recordings. They are also suing Believe Digital Holdings, accusing them of distributing the unlicensed songs.

According to the federal complaint filed July 31 in New York Eastern District Court, Round Hill is alleging TuneCore, a Brooklyn–based independent digital music distribution, publishing, and licensing service, of entering into agreements with third parties such as Apple iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic and other similar download services to distribute their songs, but have done so without the proper licenses.

"We obviously put a lot of effort into our investigation and into the drafting of the very detailed factual Complaint. Everything we have to say, therefore, at this time, is set forth in the Complaint," says Richard S. Busch of King & Ballow attorney for Round Hill.

The lawsuit alleges that TuneCore have "failed to account to or pay to Round Hill the mechanical royalties regarding 219 musical compositions engaged in the unlicensed reproduction and distribution of sound recordings embodying the Round Hill Compositions, available in New York and to New York residents, whether for purchase or for free, by means of permanent download or online streaming service."

TuneCore received an initial payment and annual recurring payment from its clients to distribute, reproduce, and collect income derived from the sale of the Round Hill Compositions. They also allege that TuneCore gains additional financial value in the form of "market share" of their user base and sale of the Round Hill Compositions embodied on the infringing sound recordings to drive financial valuation and negotiate with the music services for more favorable terms used to acquire more customers.

Round Hill is seeking damages of $150,000 for willful copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, and vicarious copyright infringement, for each musical composition involved in this action for a maximum of $32.85 million in damages In addition, Round Hill is seeking costs and attorneys' fees.

TuneCore has not yet responded to Billboard's request for comment.

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