updated 11:45 pm EDT, Wed July 20, 2011
Judge approves class-action status
US District Jude Loretta Preska has allowed a class-action lawsuit against RIAA music labels to continue forward. The lawsuit, which accuses major labels of conspiring to fix prices for digital music distribution, will be pursued under the Sherman Act to explore potential antitrust violations of federal law. Similar antitrust actions under New York state law will also be investigated, as well as other claims related to consumer protection and unjust enrichment.
Plaintiffs claim that EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner quietly agreed to set a wholesale base price of 70 cents for each track that was distributed digitally, driving portals such as iTunes and Amazon MP3 to adopt 99-cent pricing. Even with slightly variable pricing, tracks typically range from 69 cents to $1.29 from most sellers.
The labels achieved an early win in the proceedings, convincing Judge Preska to dismiss the suit, however the case was set in motion again following an appeal. [via Courthouse News]