Earlier this week, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that music publishers, including the Warner Music Group won a copyright lawsuit and a $6.6 million judgment against lyrics websites owned by Brad Greenspan. Greenspan is one of the developers of the MySpace online social network.
The company LiveUniverse and its owner Greenspan were ordered to pay damages amounting to $12,500 for each of 528 songs whose copyrights were infringed. The order, by U.S. District Judge George Wu was signed on Oct 9 in a Los Angeles federal court.
The order mentioned, “Defendants have willfully infringed upon plaintiffs’ copyrights, even after being sanctioned, both by this court and Magistrate Judge Abrams … Their blatant disregard for the civil justice system favors a substantial damages award.”
Wu also issued a permanent injunction barring the Greenspan-owned websites from offering lyrics online without obtaining proper licenses from copyright holders. Greenspan was sued in August 2009 by Warner Chappell Music, Bug Music Inc. and Peermusic Ltd. alleging that Greenspan’s online web sites provided the lyrics of copyrighted songs without payment to , or authorization by, the owners.
There was a default judgment without trial. Apparently, Greenspan failed to appear several times during depositions and neglected in providing discovery. The default judgment came after repeated contempt orders.
However, the plaintiffs think that a higher damage would have been justified and has initially sought damages of $100,000 for each song infringed.
The case is Peermusic III Ltd. v. LiveUniverse Inc., 09- 06160, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).