Music Publishers Sue Websites Over Lyrics

    August 25, 2009

National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) members have filed copyright infringement lawsuits against two businesses for publishing unlicensed lyrics on four websites.

Peermusic, Warner/Chappell and Bug Music filed an action against LiveUniverse, and its owner Brad Greenspan, co-founder of MySpace, in the Federal Court of the Central District of California for willful copyright infringement on a vast scale.

These publishers also filed similar action against Motive Force LLC and its owner Sean Colombo in the Federal court of the Western District of Pennsylvania. The music publishers seek both equitable relief and damages for the infringing companies unlicensed use of the lyrics from musical compositions on their respective websites and in conjunction with certain web applications.

David Israelite, NMPA President & CEO
David Israelite
NMPA President & CEO

"Unlicensed web sites exploiting song lyrics for profit have become a significant problem," said David Israelite, NMPA President and CEO.

"These sites are profiting on the backs of songwriters. It is unfortunate that copyright holders must so frequently divert energies to protect their rights to license and distribute their works. However, the demand for music prompts a seemingly endless stream of illegal business models."

The NMPA says it has sent cease and desist notices to hundreds of illegal sites over the past three years. The efforts have reduced the number of illegal sites, as the majority of those contacted either stopped operating or got licensed.

"Music fans are the biggest losers when licensed businesses, like LyricFind, Gracenote and TuneWiki can’t survive and prosper because unlicensed, illegal businesses are allowed to thumb their noses at the law," Israelite said.