After nearly three years in court, music publishers Sony/ATV, EMI, Warner/Chappell, ABKCO, peermusic, Spirit Music and Imagem Music scored a major win in their ongoing efforts against live music archive Wolfgang's Vault. The copyrights in the lawsuit include songs by members of The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Talking Heads, Green Day, RE.M. and others.
In a 54-page opinion made public yesterday, Judge Ramos of the Southern District of New York found that Wolfgang's Vault had willfully infringed by using the works in both audio and visual formats, and had failed to provide the necessary consents required under the U.S. Copyright Act.
The judge will now examine Wolfgang's Vault financial liability which could be has high as $150,000 per infringement.
"Judge Ramos' opinion is a dramatic vindication for our members," said NMPA President and CEO David Israelite in a statement following the court ruling. "Sony/ATV & EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell, ABKCO, peermusic, Spirit Music, and Imagem Music whose works have been willfully infringed by Wolfgang's Vault for years.
"We wholeheartedly encourage fans being able to access the footage they want to watch," he continued, "however the provider of that footage must obtain proper licenses and pay those who created and own it. We will continue to support this effort to ensure that copyright holders and songwriters rights' are upheld."