Songwriters, Recording Artists File Suit Against

May 10, 2001 12:00 PM, Editors


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Popular songwriters and recording artists Randy Newman, Tom Waits and members of the rock band Heart filed a $40 million federal copyright infringement suit in Los Angeles against San Diego, Calif.-based Inc.

The suit alleges that willfully infringed upon the copyrights of hundreds of songs written by these artists when copied tens of thousands of CDs onto its computer servers as part of the service. The compositions at issue include Newman's "I Love L.A." and "Short People," the tracks from Waits' Grammy award-winning album Mule Variations, and scores of songs written by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.

The complaint, filed by Henry Gradstein and Bruce Van Dalsem of L.A.-based entertainment law firm Gradstein, Luskin & Van Dalsem, seeks the maximum statutory damages available under the Copyright Act in the amount of $150,000 per infringement.

"This is a case of artists banding together to protect their most valuable assets -- their songs. More successful songwriters of this caliber need to stand up against copyright infringement in order to protect their own rights and discourage the theft of music written by lesser-known artists who cannot afford to protect their smaller catalogs of work," said attorney Van Dalsem.

In early December of 2000, the service was resuscitated after negotiating licensing deals with the five major record labels.

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