Sony/Warner battle TuneIn over ‘UK infringements’

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A copyright infringement dispute between Warner Music and Sony against streaming service TuneIn Radio, filed in 2017, alleges that some 800 unlicensed TuneIn music streams were available in the UK, is likely to go the UK’s Court of Appeal.

A judgement by Judge Colin Birss back on November 1st favoured Warner and Sony and found that the streaming platform had breached the music companies’ copyrights.

At that time Warner Music, in a statement, said: “We welcome this decision.  We hope that TuneIn will now seek to operate on a fully licensed basis and fairly pay rights holders for the music that it’s using to generate revenue.”

The lawsuit has been running since 2017, but on November 1st the full judgement was published and although the Court found that radio stations operating and licensed in the UK could be supplied via TuneIn’s service (to UK users), the Court also found that Sony and Warner’s claim that TuneIn’s non-UK stations did constitute copyright infringements.

The TuneIn spokesperson said: “Although Sony and Warner sought to portray last month’s decision as a decisive win for them, the fact that both parties have sought to appeal the decision tells a different story.  As things stand, we can continue to operate the most important part of our UK directory service, which is providing our UK users with links to UK stations, but cannot provide access to links to foreign music stations.”

The TuneIn statement continued: “We hope to overturn this latter point on appeal as we believe that it is fundamentally bad for freedom of expression on the Internet and cultural diversity. Many have also expressed concern about the broader implications of this decision for search engines and other Internet operators, as well as the risk that it will lead to a territorially segmented Internet. The Court of Appeal will now have to grapple with this complex case, which looks at whether we should be allowed to provide our UK users with access to hyperlinks to music radio stations that are freely available on the Internet.”


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