Apple was sued today and accused of running a "massive music piracy operation" along with a company that distributes music. The lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with Apple and Adasam Limited listed as the defendants. The latter is a U.K.music distributor that offers music under the Blue Orchid, Six Week Smile and Atlantic Motion names in iTunes. AppleInsider says that the pair is accused of illegally reproducing and distributing over 80 pirated recordings.
The suit claims that Adasam Limited is selling music from "virtually every well-known recording artist from the 1920s through the 1960s." But without obtaining the proper licenses to copy these recordings, the distributor's music catalog is apparently pirated. Apple's part in this scheme, according to the plaintiff, is to distribute the bootlegged recordings over iTunes. And by undercutting the price of a legitimately available version of a song, the defendants are allegedly taking business away from companies that have legitimately licensed these songs.
For example, Lena Horne's "Stormy Weather" is offered on the iTunes store from RCA for $1.29. The same exact recording can be purchased from Adasam for only 99 cents; if the plaintiffs are correct, the latter version of the song is a bootleg. The suit also accuses Apple and Adasam of using pirated versions of songs to compile "greatest hits" recordings that include ""virtually every prominent recording from the 1940s through the early 1960s." The filing states that each greatest hits recording contains about 30 bootlegged songs that Apple and Adasam "have absolutely no right to sell."
A similar suit was filed against Apple last September and the plaintiff in that case, the Four Jays Music Company, is also one of the plaintiffs behind the new suit along with SA Music, The Harold Arlen Trust, and the Ray Henderson Music Co. Songs written by the plaintiffs include famous standards like "Over the Rainbow," "The Chatanooga Choo Cho," "I Only Have Eyes for You," and "Bye Bye Blackbird."
The plaintiffs are seeking damages and legal fees and a permanent injunction that would prevent Apple and Adasam from infringing on their copyrighted material.