Most of the music business, led by trade group RIAA, sued music search engine/player Project Playlist for copyright infringement on Monday. One big exception: Sony BMG, the joint venture between Sony (SNE) and Bertelsmann.
Curious, since Sony BMG has been one of the music labels least willing to experiment with companies like Playlist, which takes a let-it-all-hang-out approach to copyright protection: Basically, the company allows users to stream songs from the site, but claims it isn’t actually doing that, because the music is hosted at third-party sites. Seeqpod, which has taken a similar approach, was sued by Warner Music Group (WMG) in January.
So why isn’t Sony BMG joining its peers on this one? It’s negotiating with the site, says Playlist CEO Jeremy Riney, who also noted that none of the major music publishers (EMI, Warner-Chappell, etc) were suing his company either. “We’re discouraged that a subset of the recording industry has decided to sue. We’re hopeful that we can negotiate deals with all of the parties involved in the lawsuit.”
Getting sued by the labels shouldn’t be unfamiliar territory for Playlist execs: Chief Marketing Officer Shawn Gold comes to the company from MySpace, where he held the same title. MySpace fought its own copyright battle with Universal Music Group in a lawsuit that was settled earlier this month — just in time for MySpace to launch its own JV with UMG and other big labels.
Sony BMG declined to comment; a RIAA rep gave the standard “lawsuit speaks for itself” response and helpfully forwarded the complaint, which we’ve embedded below.
See Also: Is Warner’s Seeqpod Lawsuit A Warning?
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