(a) U2 + LiveNation = a 12-year global contractual relationship (including concert promotion, merchandising and the band’s website; album distribution and publishing will still be handled by Universal...for now).

(b) Amazon + Grand Theft Auto IV = gamers able to download music discovered via the game's 150 song soundtrack and play on portable devices.

Amazon Faces False Attribution Claim in Infringement Suit For Unauthorized Digital Downloads

In Taylor v. et al., No. 2:08-cv-00061-wks (D. Vermont filed Mar. 17, 2008), the core of plaintiff's claim is:

Defendants have placed on their website and have offered for sale MP3 files of the thirteen sound recordings Plaintiff created which QuiXote Music pressed and marketed [with authorization from plaintiff, pursuant to a written agreement] ... The page on Defendants' website falsely indicates the copyright in [sound recording and composition] as being "(c) 2008 QuiXote". [However,] the compact discs pressed and marketed [with written authorization] by QuiXote Music beginning in 2001 bear multiple clear indications that the copyright in [the sound recordings and compositions] belong to Plaintiff.

Nowhere on the compact discs pressed and marketed by QuiXote Music is there any representation that the copyright in Cheshire Tree Suite belongs to QuiXote Music. On information and belief, QuiXote Music has never represented that it owns the copyright in [the sound recording and compositions]. [Eds: This may explain why QuiXote, the European based manufacturer and distributor of the album, is not a party to this suit.]

Thus, notwithstanding the basic infringement allegation (unauthorized sale of the sound recording via defendants' online digital music store), the central theme of Plaintiff's complaint is a moral rights theory of false attribution. In addition to the above quoted material, the theme of a moral rights claim as central to this action is buttressed by plaintiff's allegations of "deliberate misstatement of copyright ownership", and reference to the Berne Convention as a source of protection.

Nonetheless, Plaintiff's demand for relief is limited to an injunction prohibiting Defendants "from the infringement and unauthorized use of Plaintiff's copyright."

Several Observations and Comments:

(1) Plaintiff does not specify whether the sound recordings and/or compositions are registered. Rather than list (or include as an exhibit) any SR registration number, Plaintiff merely alleges that the works "are protected under the Untied States Code, including without limitation the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act." If unregistered, Plaintiff's claim has a fatal problem (17 U.S.C. 411). (Alternatively, her demand for fees and statutory damages may be barred, 17 U.S.C. 412. Homkow v. Musika Records Inc., No. 04 Civ. 3587, N.Y.L.J. "Decision of the Day", Mar. 17, 2008 (S.D.N.Y. decided Feb. 25, 2008)). Notable, however, is the filing of an AO Form 121 mailed to the Register of Copyright pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 508. This form, entitled "Report on the Filing or Determination of an Action or Appeal Regarding a Copyright", presumably was filed with the relevant Registration Numbers, i.e., not left blank? (However, a search of the Copyright Office's public catalogue did not find any relevant SRs.)

(2) What is the process by which digital music stores obtain information regarding copyright ownership?

(3) Where is the European label? Review of Plaintiff's agreement with QuiXote Music would seem highly relevant to whether Plaintiff granted the label authorization to distribute the sound recordings in intangible electronic or digital form, e.g., MP3?

CBS wants to be First on Your Dial

CBS is adding on-demand, full-track streaming to its music social-networking site Free on-demands streams will be limited to three times per track, and cannot be downloaded to a portable player (e.g., an iPod).

Forbes notes that this is a "sign of the recording industry's growing interest in free, advertising-supported access to music". Yet, plans to ultimately offer users a chance to purchase a monthly subscription allowing them to listen to songs as many times as they want.

Rolling Stone notes that the deal with major record labels is heating up "the arms race" between Amazon and Apple iTunes.

More MP3 Choice - Yahoo!

Yahoo! is in preliminary discussions with major recording labels to offer a DRM-free (i.e., without copyright protection software) digital music down-load service. Amazon and iTunes: look out!

It is not yet clear whether Yahoo! will follow an a la carte purchase model, or a free-download/ad-supported model. OTCS opines that an ad-supported model would be a major shift in the digital download market. Given the death of the subscription model, is ad-supported "free" downloading the nail in the a la carte model's coffin? Time will tell.

iTunes, So 5 Minutes Ago

Pepsi announced that it will offer 100 million free downloads from, marking a "change of teams" away from iTunes. The promotion will begin at the Super Bowl next month, and all songs will be in mp3 format (i.e., without DRM).

However, not all the majors are participating due to pricing issues, including UMG. Typically, Amazon pays labels approx. $0.70, but under the promotion record companies will be paid approx. $0.40 per song.

To quote Dave Chappelle, as Rick James "What did the 5 fingers say to [iTunes]? Slap!"

Sony Adds Catalogue to Amazon; Ups Competition with iTunes

Sony BMG became the last of the major labels to begin selling its music in mp3 format on The deal includes the labels entire catalogue.

The result of the deal is two-fold. First, it increases's competition with Apple iTunes. Second, the music will be sold without digital rights management software, or DRM, nailing another coffin in an on-line music distribution model based on limiting user's experience with the media.

...and again, this is good for the consumer! More choice, more options, more freedom. It now seems inevitable that iTunes will need to lift its DRM software in order to offer consumers a competitive product.