Not your typical targets for a music copyright infringement lawsuit: The big companies that run paid online music subscription services. But MCS Music America, which says it administers almost 45,000 tracks, is suing Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), and RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK), basically saying that they left some seemingly big Ts uncrossed when they obtained the rights to offer some songs to their members. From the lawsuit: “In order to transmit, perform, reproduce and deliver any sound recording of any musical work via ‘on-demand streams’ or ‘limited downloads’ defendants must first obtain not only the rights for the sound recording itself but also the rights for the underlying musical composition which is embodied on said sound recording.”
MCS Music America wants the tracks taken down and is also asking for damages—either “actual damages and profits derived by the defendants” or $150,000 for each act of copyright infringement (That could add up since it takes 90 pages for MCS Music America to simply list all the songs that it says have been misappropriated—and MCS Music America says that a separate act of copyright infringement took place each time one of those songs was downloaded or streamed).
TechDirt, which first reported the lawsuit, says it’s an indication of “just how incredibly confusing and impossible copyright law has become” since the three companies obviously did take the time to obtain some rights to the songs. Representatives from Yahoo and Microsoft had no comment. A RealNetworks spokesman did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
By Joseph Tartakoff