Copyright

Copyright Infringement? Peloton Punches Back (weakly) With Antitrust

Can a trade association negotiate sales or licenses on behalf of its members? Can it tell members, “don’t negotiate individually with a specific purchaser, and if you are already in negotiations with that purchaser cut them off and let us negotiate on behalf of you and other members”? At what point does this conduct become an antitrust violation? 

These are the issues raised in a lawsuit between Peloton Interactive, Inc. on the one hand, and a group of music publishers and the National Music Publishers Association, Inc. (NMPA) on the other.

Peloton and Music Licensing. Peloton sells high-end, in-home stationary bicycles. An important feature of Peloton’s service is music-backed, instructor-led workout classes streamed to users via a built-in video screen. Some of these classes are broadcast live, and many are recorded and accessed on-demand.

Peloton doesn’t own its music, instead Peloton instructors create their playlists using popular recordings drawn from Peloton’s commercial music library.Read the full article

Ed Sheeran Should Settle “Lets Get It On”

by Lee Gesmer on April 24, 2019

Ed Sheeran Should Settle "Lets Get It On"

It looks like the music copyright world is facing another high-profile infringement trial. This time the songs at issue are Marvin Gaye’s 1973 “Get Lets it On” and Ed Sheeran’s 2014 “Thinking Out Loud.” On January 2, 2019, a federal judge denied Sheeran’s motion for summary judgment in this case. Absent a settlement, the case will proceed to trial in federal court in New York.

This case raises some of the same questions that were at issue in the two cases decided recently by the Ninth Circuit – the Blurred Lines case (where the Ninth Circuit upheld a jury finding of infringement of another Marvin Gaye song), and the Led Zeppelin/Spirit Stairway to Heaven case, where the Ninth Circuit reversed a judgment for Led Zeppelin and remanded the case for a second trial. See Blurred Lines At The Ninth Circuit and Led Zeppelin, Spirit and a Bustle at the Ninth Circuit.Read the full article

Redigi - World's First Used Digital Marketplace - Fails "First Sale" at Second Circuit

I first posted on Capitol Records v. Redigi in March 2012 (Redigi Case Poses A Novel Copyright Question on the Resale of Digital Audio Files – Is “Digital First Sale Legal? Link), and posted a number of follow-up articles on this interesting case. Absent an appeal to the Supreme Court this long-running copyright case has finally come to an end with the Second Circuit’s December 12, 2018 decision holding that Redigi infringed the exclusive copyright right of reproduction with respect to the “second-hand” digital music files it sold via the Redigi system.

To understand this case it’s important to appreciate how Redigi’s system works. I explained this in detail in the post linked above, and the Second Circuit opinion describes it quite thoroughly as well. In short, Redigi acts as a broker for music files purchased and downloaded from iTunes. Redigi uploads a seller’s  music file to its own server and offers it for sale, deleting it from the seller’s computer, although the seller can continue to stream the file until it is sold.… Read the full article

An Introduction to the Music Modernization Act

by Lee Gesmer on December 13, 2018

An Introduction to the Music Modernization Act

Every few decades Congress enacts a major amendment to the U.S. Copyright Act. We are at one of those inflection points now. On October 11, 2018 the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (the “MMA”) was signed into law. (click here for full text of the law)

This is a massive, game-changing law for digital music distribution, and it may take years for it to be fully integrated with the complex U.S. music copyright system. But, if you’re at a holiday party this season and someone insists on discussing the MMA with you, this blog post will give you a few talking points.

From a 40,000 foot level the MMA does three things.

First, and most importantly, it completely revamps the U.S. mechanical licensing system for interactive digital streaming services and digital downloads by shifting the burden of identifying composers from the services to the composers themselves. This is a huge benefit to the digital music services, who in the pre-MMA era were responsible for locating composers entitled to royalties but often failed to do so, creating an enormous potential liability for copyright infringement.… Read the full article