Music Copyright Alert: Unpredictable Playlist Dooms Sound Recording Copyright Holders’ Infringement Claim

On August 21, 2009, in a case of first impression for the federal appellate courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that LAUNCHcast’s webcasting program lacks sufficient user-control over playlists and therefore is not an “interactive service” within the meaning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the DMCA). As a result, the webcasting service need only pay a single statutory licensing fee, rather than licensing fees to each copyright holder for every song played. Arista Records, Inc. v. Launch Media, Inc. (Docket No. 07-2576 (2nd Cir. Aug. 21, 2009)).

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