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Tuesday, 29 April 2008 06:55

RIAA goes after projectplaylist.com

Written by David Stellmack

Image

Claims copyright infringement

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a lawsuit on Monday on behalf of nine record companies against projectplaylist.com, claiming that projectplaylist has been making unauthorized reproductions of artists’ music that is under contract with the record labels, thus violating copyright protections of the recording labels.

Projectplaylist.com compiles an index of individual songs on the Internet and is indexed so that users on its Web site can easily search, locate and play recordings of their favorite artists. It allows its users to embed their personalized playlists on social network sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Blogger, the lawsuit claims, as well as the fact that it receives more than 600,000 daily users, nearly 9.5 million average page views per day, while allowing its users to share music with others for free. 

The suit also claims that projectplaylist instantly streams a digital performance of the selected recording to the user, who can listen to it on a computer or mobile device through the use of an embeddable music player without authorization and without paying the record labels any compensation for the music works.

The action was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.  The nine record labels that are part of the RIAA action include Warner Music Group Corp's Atlantic Recording Corporation, Elektra Entertainment Group, Inc. and Warner Bros. Records, Inc.; EMI Group Plc's Capitol Records LLC, Priority Records LLC and Virgin Records America, Inc.; and the Interscope Records, Motown Record Co. LP and UMG Recordings Inc. labels of Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group.

Projectplaylist.com’s Web site indicates that it is committed to copyright protection. It claims that “…our search engine is based upon our growing index of links to music files legally posted on the Internet for promotional or other legal purposes. Our music player allows performance of music files through streaming technology and ‘in-line linking’ of series of hyperlinks. In that way, we make it easy for our users to create a playlist that points to a series of music files hosted on third- party Websites.

We do not control those third-party Websites. We do not host music files. We do not allow uploading or downloading of music files to projectplaylist.com. We are not a ‘file sharing’ site, peer to peer or otherwise; and we do not support or endorse illegal copying of music.” 

Further, the site indicates that, “Project Playlist, Inc. pays performance royalties to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, the three performance rights organizations (“PSO”) based in the United States. These three PSOs have reciprocal agreements with PSOs throughout the world. The creators and publishers of the songs you hear through projectplaylist.com or our embedded music player are being paid a royalty for their work if they are members of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC or any one of over 125 other PSOs that represent songwriters and music publishers around the world.

The more a song is included on our users’ playlists, the more royalties the writer and publisher of that song are paid by Project Playlist, Inc….If an artist or the artist’s authorized agent advises us that our search engine is linking to an illegally posted song by providing a legally effective take down notice as described below, we take down the link to that music file in accordance with the law and the procedures discussed below.”

The RIAA is seeking to enjoin projectplaylist.com from continuing to offer its customers free music and it and the labels it represents are also seeking unspecified damages.  Project Playlist, Inc. could not be reached for comment.

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 April 2008 16:27

David Stellmack

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