LiveUniverse.com has found itself embroiled in a $6.6m lawsuit after posting lyrics, without authorisation, on its website.
The lyrics site, founded by Brad Greenspan who’s also a co-founder of MySpace, was penalised by a US court for its lack of music publishing license at a rate that equates to $12,500 per song for the 528 reportedly-infringed songs in put forward in the case by plaintiffs Peermusic, Bug Music and Warner Chappell.
Paul Fakler, the Arent Fox lawyers representing the music publishers said that Greenspan “engaged in serial misconduct, and refused to pay the court sanctions. Towards the end he would show up, and have either a new lawyer, or no lawyer."
ARS technica reports that the court docket showed Greenspan’s last lawyer withdrew from the case in August 2011 and the LiveUNiverse site was taken down around the end of 2010.
Ross Charap of Arent Fox lawyers said that publishers pursuing unlicensed lyrics sites such as LiveUniverse are now starting to bring in significant revenue from legitimised sites: “"This is an important new stream of revenue for publishers. They got nothing from it five or six years ago, and now they get tens of millions of dollars."
He added: “These sites are making hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars a year, on the backs of people who write this music and own this music.”
Although offshore sites have been largely unaffected by the ruling, Charap is confident that it will clear up the problem of unlicensed sites in the US, at least.
The bringing of lawsuits has encouraged sites to get licensed, with the typical rates being the site paying 50 per cent of revenue to music publishers and songwriters based on the number of views an individual song attracts.
Source: ARS technica