As new media continues to challenge the traditional means of delivering music, video and other digital content, copyright lawyers can expect to get rich in the legal fall out.
Universal are the latest media group to get on the blower to their legal boys, filing a case against the social networking site, MySpace.com.
Universal claims that MySpace, “encourages, facilitates and participates in the unauthorised reproduction, adaptation, distribution and public performance,” and is seeking unspecified damages, including up to $150,000 for each unauthorised music song or video uploaded on to the Website.
MySpace’s botty-covering tactic of making users agree to grant the Website a license to publish uploaded content isn’t washing with the Universal legal team, who insist that they have no such authority over works they don’t own.
“A willing partner in theft”
The complaint, filed at the US District Court, claims that “MySpace is a willing partner in that theft,” observing that most of the media slapped up its pages aren’t generated by users, but purloined from copyright owners.
MySpace hit back in a statement, insisting that they are in full compliance with copyright laws:
“We have been keeping UMG closely apprised of our industry-leading efforts to protect creators’ rights, and it’s unfortunate they decided to file this unnecessary and meritless litigation,” the statement said.
“We provide users with tools to share their own work – we do not induce, encourage, or condone copyright violation in any way.”
Universal were having none of it, claiming that their, “music and videos play a key role in building the communities that have created hundreds of millions of dollars of value for the owners of MySpace.”
“Our goal is not to inhibit the creation of these communities, but to ensure that our rights and those of our artists are recognised,” the statement added.