The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has rendered a decision awarding a total of $6.6 million in statutory damages to a group of music publishers against LiveUniverse, Inc., an operator of online music sites, and its founder, Brad Greenspan.
The U.S. District Court awarded $12,500 in damages for each of the 528 infringed songs alleged to have been posted on various websites owned by LiveUniverse, Inc. In addition to awarding damages, the court issued a permanent injunction restraining LiveUniverse, Inc. and Brad Greenspan from using all or part of any of the plaintiffs’ copyrighted songs without obtaining a license.
This decision serves as a warning to lyric site operators since it is the first to establish copyright infringement liability for posting song lyrics on a website without first obtaining a license from the song’s copyright owner. It is expected that the court decision will incite lyric site operators to obtain licenses from publishers and songwriters for copyrighted songs so as to avoid the risk of being sued for copyright infringement and potentially pay large amounts in damages.
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