German digital-music aggregator Finetunes is threatening to sue online-music platform Last.fm for alleged copyright infringement.
Finetunes alleges that London-based Last.fm has broken German copyright law by streaming music legally licensed to Finetunes. A Last.fm spokesperson says it has “no comment to make at this stage” and would not confirm that it had received a cease-and-desist order Hamburg-based Finetunes says it issued on Sept. 5.
Should Last.fm fail to comply, Finetunes says it will resort to litigation.
The tracks cited in the legal document include music from German indie labels Grand Hotel van Cleef, Hot Action Records, and Buback Tontrager. The German acts affected include Die Arzte, Tomte, and Die Goldenen Zitronen.
Finetunes claims that Last.fm, which operates a system recommending songs based on users’ listening habits, featured copyrighted material from Finetunes catalog without permission from Finetunes or any German collecting society.
It is demanding that Last.fm stops using any songs from Finetunes’ catalog of more than 200,000 titles and provides detailed information on all Finetunes songs ever featured on Last.fm. It also wants the U.K. firm to identify the supplier of the music, and to compensate Finetunes for the illegal use of the works.
“Finetunes supports the growth of the digital-music market with innovative business models such as Last.fm,” said Finetunes CEO Oke Gottlich in a statement. But, he added: “It is not acceptable that the artists’ music is just taken away from them, and used extensively without any compensation.”
The statement claimed that efforts to negotiate with Last.fm in the past have failed and “are currently not in progress.” However, it added that Finetunes hopes to ultimately reach an amicable agreement.