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Microsoft, Yahoo, Real Networks sued over music copyright

A copyright administration company started a legal case against Real Networks, Yahoo, and Microsoft, alleging that they breached copyright on several pieces of music and the authors of music they look after.

MCS Music America Inc, a subsidiary of British company Conexion Media Group PLC, filed the case in a Tennessee district court earlier this week.

MCS represents a large number of other plaintiffs in the case, which is based on streaming technology used by Microsoft, Yahoo and Real Networks.

The filing names yahoomusic.com, rhapsody.com, and zune.com and claims that  these services each allow people to listen to the entire sound recording of a musical work using “on demand streams”, and also allow people during a free trial period or on payment of a monthly fee the ability to download an unlimited number of sound recordings of music.

The downloads, allege the suit, stay on peoples’ hard drives as long as the free trial period runs, or the monthly subscription fee is paid. To do so, the suit continues, the defendants have to obtain not only the rights for the sound recording itself, but the rights for the underlying musical competition.

MCS Music America, it continues, doesn’t own any of the copyrighted works it names in the filing, but is the current or previous exclusive copyright licensing administrator for each of the plaintiffs named.

It names a number of works that it claims it is the sole legal or beneficial owner. Those include “Oh to be kept by Jesus”. It also administers the following titles: “Ain’t gonna be their fool no more”; “Borderline”;  “Destitute & Losin'”; “Don’t lie to me”; “El Salvador”; “Greed of Man (Tell Me)”; “Innocent”; “Stuck in the Middle”; “Man with a Memory – Woman with a past”; “Fifteen Years Ago”; “Fifteen Years Going Up”; “When she Cries”; “A Different Journey”; “Autumn Prelude and Autumn Echo”; “Bird Flight”; “Blues for OT”; “Dervish Dance”; “European Fantasy”; “Forest Flower”; “Goin’ to Memphis”; “Island Blues”; “Karma” and many many other titles listed in the law suit.

MCS is demanding $150,000 for each act of infringement of the plaintiffs’ copyrighted works, costs, and an injunction preventing future infringement of the plaintiffs’ copyrighted works.