Columbia House Wins Sony Copyright Suit

A summary judgment has been awarded to Sony Music Entertainment (previously CBS Records) in a copyright infringement suit brought by three music publishers.

The claim, dismissed by Judge Stephen V. Wilson in a Los Angeles Federal Court, was brought against the music licensing practices of mail-order service Columbia House.

At issue was Columbia House’s informal licensing system, used in place of formally requesting written licenses for songs included on records first released by front-line labels.

Wilson ruled that the publishers – Wixen Music Publishing, administrator for Hiraeth Music and K-Kuad Music, and McNoodle Music – had forfeited their claims by accepting CBS’ statements and checks without protest for the periods covered by the suit.

Dropped earlier from the case was the publishers’ claim that Columbia House had infringed their copyrights by paying mechanical royalties at 75% of the statutory compulsory license rate. Claim was dropped after CBS filed a motion to dismiss the original complaint for failure to state a valid claim for legal relief.

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