In Arista Records v. Launch Media, the RIAA lost its copyright infringement case against a company which provides its users with individualized internet radio stations. The company, Launch Media, is now owned by Yahoo.
The US Court of Appeals rejected the RIAA's argument that the users' ability to customize the radio stations made them "interactive services" rather than "radio stations", and affirmed the ruling of the Court below, finding that the internet radio stations in question did not provide copyrighted sound recordings on request, and did not transmit a program specially created for the user.
Opinion of US Court of Appeals for Second Circuit affirming judgment for defendant
[Ed. note. There's an interesting lesson in this report for you law students and young lawyers out there. (1) All 4 of the "usual suspects" from the "Gang of 4" brought the suit. (b) After they lost the jury trial, only SONY BMG Music Entertainment pursued an appeal. (3) Had there been no appeal, all there would have been is a jury verdict, which in any other case could have been explained away as being based on, and limited to, a jury's conclusion as to the facts of the Launch Media case. (4) But SONY just had to pursue its appeal, resulting in a 42-page appellate decision holding that "as a matter of law" a personalized internet radio station of the type provided by Launch Media is NOT interactive, no matter what the jury might have found. (5) This decision now creates a safe harbor for a whole industry and business model. Thank you SONY. -R.B.]
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