toggle

AAPL Stock: 111.78 ( -0.87 )

Printed from http://www.macnn.com

Apple, labels slapped with class action suit

updated 11:30 am EDT, Thu May 24, 2007

Suit targets Apple, labels

A small record label has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple and other digital music stores as well as the major record labels that carry its catalog of tracks. Dawg Music, which is run by bluegrass musician David Grisman and his partner Craig Miller, claims that entities carrying Grisman's musical tracks are knowingly selling his works with poor or nonexistent compensation without his consent. Represented by Strange and Carpenter from the Law Offices of Jeffry L. Graubart, the suit makes a two-part complaint implicating both labels and their online digital retail partners. The complaint states that Universal and Warner have neglected Daw Music's copyrights and royalties when signing deals with online stores -- including Apple's iTunes service.

The two large record companies agreed to online distribution of Grisman's library without first acquiring permission from Dawg Music, according to AppleInsider, and by doing so both labels made unauthorized hard copies of the music while also usurping control of royalties due for each album. That lack of communication resulted in "gross underpayments," claims Dawg Music, and online retail efforts such as the iTunes Store are guilty by association because they agreed to host and sell the unsanctioned tracks.

The suit claims that AOL Music Now, Buy.com, Apple's iTunes, MSN.com, Napster, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, Wal-Mart.com, and Yahoo Music are guilty of trading songs without genuine consent because they send money to the intermediate labels but not the copyright holders.

Dawg Music also states that this evasion of copyrights has caused "irreparable injury" to the music label, and that the agreements will continue to damage the company as long as the present contracts for online music remain. All defendants named in the suit would be forced to pay Dawg Music for damages if the small label manages to prove its case in a central California court hearing.

Additionally, the court could order each defendant to pay $150,000 for each work whose copyright was violated if the case finds the labels and online music retailers guilty, adding up to millions of dollars in payments to Dawg Music.

Strange and Carpenter on behalf of Dawg Music will need to prove that none of the existing clauses in Dawg Music's contracts with Universal and Warner already cover the online distribution of their content if they are to win the case and recieve damages.




by MacNN Staff

POST TOOLS:

TAGS :

toggle

Comments

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Universal & Warner should

    Universal and Warner should be blamed if they are the ones dealing with Apple and not compensating this small label for there work. How should Apple know that this label was involved at all? Go after the ones trying to sell the music for themselves. Apple is just the tool to put the music online and I don't think they should be blamed for Warner and Universals greedy practices of selling the content only for themselves.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    agreed

    None of the music stores just downloaded the songs and started selling them. They got them from somewhere. and that place is most likely one of the major labels...

    and is this a class action lawsuit? I thought a class action was a group of people suing one or more entities. Does it work the other way around too? just curious...

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    "irreparable injury"

    What, like $56.14? Whatever. I agree the labels should be held accountable, but I would be willing to bet they could take an office pool and pay the royalties.

    http://www.dawgnet.com/

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    class actions

    Yeah, they can work both ways. The defendents can be a class, although the ones you usually hear about the plaintiffs are the class. Or you can have both (e.g., all smokers versus all tobacco companies)

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    not selling albums

    I guess they were not selling albums so decided to exort their way to success instead.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    thanks

    thanks malax... I wasnt sure how that worked. :)

  1. MisterMe

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I'm sorry if ...

    ... these guys are being taken advantage of, but I don't believe that they are. If one of the major labels has made their music available for download, then they have a contract with them that it interprets as allowing it to sell the music online.

    This is not to say that the label is correct, but it does say that it is not an open-and-shut question. This appears to be a situation where two little guys that noone ever heard of want some publicity.

  1. automorrow

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Old Contracts.

    Dawg is good stuff .. but I bet these contracts were signed way before there was even a thought about online music stores .. thus Yes, the contract does not have the 'wording' for online distrubition .. but distrubution none the less ..

    This is just a guess ... and if Dawg wins, then all those other aged cotracts are valid for a similar lawsuit ..

    Any comments?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: I'm sorry if

    ... these guys are being taken advantage of, but I don't believe that they are. If one of the major labels has made their music available for download, then they have a contract with them that it interprets as allowing it to sell the music online.

    Wait, you don't think they are? Based on what? You're belief that the labels actually play by the rules or something? Maybe the labels THINK they have a contract, but don't. Maybe they don't even have a contract, and just decided to put up their albums for sale.

    This is not to say that the label is correct, but it does say that it is not an open-and-shut question. This appears to be a situation where two little guys that noone ever heard of want some publicity.

    And whether or not you or anyone has heard of them is completely beyond the point. Would it be worse if it were some well known artist, like the Grateful Dead or the Beatles?

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    kind of ironic

    It's pretty funny that the two most pro-DRM, anti-piracy record labels are accused of stealing Dawg Music's music.

    "This appears to be a situation where two little guys that noone ever heard of want some publicity."

    Do you mean David Grisman and Jerry Garcia's estate? I think they've sold more than a few dozen CDs.

    The online music stores are part of the lawsuit because they have to be. If Dawg Music wins, I don't think Apple will have to pay much - all they did is believe the representations of Warners and Universal that those two had the rights to sell Dawg Music's music.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.

toggle

Network Headlines

toggle

Most Popular

MacNN Sponsor

Recent Reviews

Dell AD211 Bluetooth speaker

For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solution ...

VisionTek 128GB USB Pocket SSD

USB flash drives dealt the death blow to both the floppy and Zip drives. While still faster than either of the old removable media, sp ...

Kodak PixPro SL10 Smart Lens Camera

Smartphone imagery still widely varies. Large Megapixel counts don't make for a good image, and the optics in some devices are lackin ...

toggle

Most Commented