United States of America v. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

Brief of Amici Curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and Center for Democracy and Technology in Support of AT&T Mobility's Motion for Summary Judgment on Ringtones

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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.

This is EFF's Amici Brief.

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Reference Info:Legal Memoranda: Motions for Summary Judgment/Adjudication | 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.

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