Business News Digital Legal
By Chris Cooke | Posted on Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Apple has resolved its ongoing copyright dispute with the estates of Harold Arlen, Ray Henderson and Harry Warren regarding the sale of unlicensed recordings on the tech giant’s iTunes store in the US.
Originally, it was the estate of Arlen, who wrote ‘Over The Rainbow,’ ‘I’ve Got The World On A String,’ and ‘Get Happy,’ among many other famous works, that legalized this subject, along with the other states. . later joined. At one point there was litigation against Amazon, Microsoft and Google as well, but those disputes were resolved along the way.
The lawsuits actually focused on the rights to the songs controlled by the states. Mechanical copying of songs is usually covered by a compulsory license in the US However, that compulsory license only applies if the recording being sold has been properly licensed.
If the sale of the recording actually infringes copyright, the compulsory license does not apply, meaning that the song’s copyright is also infringed.
And while, with downloads in the US, it’s usually the record companies’ responsibility to sort out the licensing of the rights to the songs, the download stores are involved in the infringement.
There was a lot of legal back and forth as these disputes played out, with lawsuits being dismissed and then re-filed. At one point, it appeared that the Apple litigation was going to proceed to a full court hearing before a jury, and the judge overseeing the case was apparently unsure whether he should grant any of the summary judgments that the two sides had requested.
But then, in March of this year, that judge issued a summary judgment on a key point, which was whether or not any alleged infringement by Apple was “intentional.” This is always important in US copyright cases, because if a copyright owner can prove that the infringement was intentional, then the damages he can claim are much higher. However, the judge ruled that even if Apple was responsible for the infringement, it was not a deliberate infringement.
The terms of the agreement now reached between Apple and the states are unknown. But, according to Reuters, all parties informed the court last week that a settlement had been reached and thus this particular dispute over digital music has come to an end.