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Universal Music Group Sues MySpace Over Copyright Issue


By: Spacelab Research Staff
There is a creeping movement to wrestle back the control of copyrighted works, and major labels like Universal Music Group seem to be emerging from the wait and watch period they were in over the past few years, letting sites like MySpace use copyrighted materials.

And now, Universal Music Group has filed a suit in a U.S. district court in Los Angeles against MySpace over issues of copyright infringement. Universal says MySpace is a virtual warehouse of pirated media, and they're seeking the now standard sum of $150,000 for each instance of copyrighted materials found on MySpace. The lawsuit brings into play a test of the "safe harbor" part of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, that says Internet sites need to remove copyrighted works when a request is made by the copyright holder. The lawsuit also names News Corporation, who owns MySpace.

Representatives of MySpace claim that everything is groovy on the site, and they're following the law.

“MySpace provides an extraordinary promotion platform for artists – from major labels to independent acts – while respecting their copyrights. We are in full compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and have no doubt we will prevail in court,” they said in a statement.

This follows a recent deal between MySpace and Gracenote to put a filtering sytem in place to prevent copyrighted media from being uploaded to the site. MySpace and Universal had reached an agreement earlier this year to let MySpace stream Universal's videos. I guess this means it didn't work out like Universal had planned.

And to make it even more complicated, Interscope Records, owned by Universal, inked a deal earlier this year to distribute music on the newly formed MySpace Records! Heavy.

Now that the social networking sites are pulling in advertising dollars, the big labels are considering what kind of money they can make from doing the same thing... Or they could make them pay for a license to broadcast all of that media, but that might prove to be a lot of money. The other option is for MySpace to drop the use of copyrighted media all together, but consider what MySpace might be like with music and videos, and you can guess what that option might do for MySpace... drive people away.

Maybe this is more about who outlives each other... they can try to sue others into oblivion. News Corp definitely has the dollars to battle this, but it could force them to rethink how they go about doing what they do. MySpace without music or videos would be a completely different experience. This will be fun to watch.

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