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TUNEIN LOSES U.K. LAWSUIT

Sony and Warner have emerged victorious in a copyright infringement lawsuit against streaming radio service TuneIn in the U.K. for hosting stations playing unlicensed music. 

TuneIn, which offers a free internet radio service, was sued back in 2017 for allowing subscribers in the U.K. to listen to music played by stations outside of the country without a license to do so, according to a report in Bloomberg. After the judgment today in London, Sony has said that the decision proves that TuneIn is “unlawfully redistributing and commercializing links to unlicensed music on a widespread scale.”

Judge Colin Birss also questioned a now-disabled function on TuneIn’s Pro app that allowed users to create a library of music using a download on demand service.

Celebrating the outcome, a spokesperson from Sony Music Entertainment continued: “The U.K. Court’s ruling is a critical move in the right direction, and we appreciate its work in reaching a decision in this case. While this decision marks an important victory against TuneIn’s blatant copyright infringement in the U.K., the company continues to unlawfully profit from massive global commercialization of unlicensed copyrighted sound recordings by turning a blind eye to basic licensing requirements and hiding behind safe harbor claims to avoid paying music creators.

“This deprives music creators of compensation for their work, and gives TuneIn an unfair competitive advantage in relation to licensed webcasters that honor their legal obligations and respect the need for artists to receive a fair return on the essential value they provide.”

TuneIn said it is considering an appeal, as noted in a statement below, and downplayed the impact of the decision. CEO Juliette Morris issued a statement offering a different interpretation of events. “Today in the U.K., a judgment was announced in a lawsuit involving TuneIn, the leading directory service identifying freely available audio content on the Internet, and Sony Music and Warner Music regarding the availability of music radio stations to TuneIn users in the U.K. The U.K. Court found in favor of TuneIn on the most important claim, confirming that music radio stations licensed in the U.K. can be made available through the TuneIn service to TuneIn’s U.K. users.  

While we continue to evaluate the ruling and consider all options, including appeal, we believe the judgment will have very little impact on the company’s revenue and ongoing growth strategies. We won on the most important element of the case, which was the right to provide U.K. users with access to U.K.-authorized radio stations. TuneIn is committed to complying with all applicable laws in the countries we serve and will continue to defend the right to operate a directory service providing listeners access to content freely available on the Internet.”

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