"Contrary to the defendants' contention, the Supreme Court properly found that the language of the parties' license agreement was clear and unambiguous as to the payment by the defendants of certain royalties for compact discs that were "sold," even if the compact discs were later returned by the defendants' customers. In this regard, the subject agreement provided that the defendants would be responsible for paying royalties to the plaintiff for compact discs 'made, used, sold or otherwise disposed of" by the defendants. The agreement further provided that a product "shall be considered sold when invoiced, or if not invoiced, when delivered to a party other than the manufacturer.'"
Plaintiffs sought to represent a nation-wide class of buyers of "digital music" on claims that defendant recording companies conspired to artificially fix prices on digital music (both CDs and Internet music). Defendants, the major record labels (EMI, SonyBMG, UMG, anmd Warner) allegedly fixed a high price for, and restrained availability of Internet music - by imposing the same price and use restrictions (i.e., DRM) on their sale thereof - which "buoyed" the price of CDs.
Plaintiffs' second consolidated amended complaint dismissed under the pleading standards of Bell Atlantic v. Twombly. Plaintiffs' first claim was for violation of section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The court concluded it was unreasonable to infer that defendants' adoption of DRM and parallel price arose from their membership in joint ventures that were created to distribute Internet Music. Other circumstantial evidence also did not justify an inference that defendants' parallel conduct resulted from an illegal agreement under the Sherman Act. For example, the court found there was no "antitrust record" based on investigation by government agencies, including the NY Attorney General. Nor would"mere participation in an industry trade association" yield an inference of improper inter-firm communication.
Similarly dismissed as predicated on the same allegations were state antitrust claims, consumer protection claims, and the unjust enrichment count.
Backed by four major music labels, SanDisk on Monday announced a new physical
music format dubbed "SlotMusic" that's essentially an entire album on a MicroSD compact memory card. Wal-Mart and Best Buy are among the retailers that have already signed on to start selling the cards for the upcoming holiday season