Yahoo Launchcast Wins Sony BMG Copyright Suit; IFPI Strikes Cross-Border Digital Music Deals

After six years of litigation, a federal jury found that Yahoo’s online music service Launchcast is not liable to Sony BMG Music Entertainment for copyright infringement, Billboard Biz reported. Sony, which immediately said it intends to appeal the New York jury’s decision, contends that Yahoo was required to negotiate licenses as an “interactive” service to use the company’s music on Launchcast, which plays music based on Yahoo users’ ratings and stated preferences. Yahoo’s license for Launchcast was filed under “non-interactive” status with record industry royalty collection service SoundExchange.

Backstory: By 2003, Yahoo had settled similar lawsuits over copyright violations brought by EMI, Universal and Sony before its joint venture with Bertelsmann was launched in August 2004. BMG Entertainment was part of the original lawsuit filed in May 2001 by the Recording Industry Association of America, according to a BusinessWeek item written at the time.

IFPI Crafts Cross-Border Digital Music Deal: In other online music news, the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is making it easier for online music providers to obtain licenses for streaming songs across several territories. The IFPI, which represents record labels in 70 countries, has struck deals with royalty collecting agencies to license rights in each others

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