In Re: Application of Cellco Partnership DBA Verizon Wireless (Related to: US v. ASCAP)

Opinion & Order

more+
less-

EFF has urged a federal court to reject bogus copyright claims in a ringtone royalty battle that could raise costs for consumers, jeopardize consumer rights, and curtail new technological innovation.

Millions of Americans have bought musical ringtones for their mobile phones, often clips from a favorite popular song. Mobile phone carriers already pay royalties to song owners for the right to sell these snippets to their customers. But as part of a ploy to squeeze more money out of the mobile phone companies, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) has told a federal court that each time a phone rings in a public place, the phone user has violated copyright law. Therefore, ASCAP argues, phone carriers must pay additional royalties or face legal liability for contributing to what they claim is cell phone users' copyright infringement. In an amicus brief, EFF points out that copyright law does not reach public performances "without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage" -- clearly the case with cell phone ringtones.

On October 14, 2009, the district court sided with AT&T and Verizon against ASCAP, concluding that public ringing does not infringe copyright, thanks to Section 110(4) of the Copyright Act, which exempts purely noncommercial performances. The court also rejected ASCAP's argument that it was the phone companies who were "performing" the ringtones, rather than the end-users.

For more information, please see Order & Opinion provided below.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Reference Info:Decision | Federal, 2nd Circuit, New York | United States


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Electronic Frontier Foundation | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

more+
less-

Electronic Frontier Foundation on:

JD Supra Readers' Choice 2016 Awards
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
×
Loading...
×
×