WEB OF DECEIT?

A group of songwriters and publishers, including representatives for Paul McCartney and Elvis Presley, cliam the label has made music available on the web illegally...

UNIVERSAL MUSIC in the US is being sued by a group of songwriters and music publishers, who claim that the label has illegally made music available on the Internet.

Universal is one of the companies which has been strongly opposed to free downloading of music on the Internet, and was one of the major labels involved in the case against Napster.

Among the songs which the group of songwriters claim have been made available on the Net without permission from authors and publishers are ‘Love Me Tender’ by Elvis Presley, Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Peggy Sue’ by Buddy Holly, which are available through the label’s [url=]www.farmclub.com

website.

The label refuted the claims in a statement saying: “The publishers are making a claim that is blatantly inconsistent with the legal positions they have taken before. Moreover, Universal has followed the applicable licensing procedures – to cover Universal’s online activities.”

The action, being brought by organisations including Paul McCartney’s publishing company Peer International, Elvis Presley Music and The Songwriter’s Guild of America, is supported by the National Music Publisher’s Association. The lawsuit was filed at the New York Southern District Court, and is using the case between Universal and MP3.com earlier this year as a precedent.

MP3.com was successfully sued by Universal earlier this year when a judge ruled that the Internet company had wilfully violated the label’s copyrights by streaming its music online. MP3.com reached a $53.4 million settlement.