Three Lawsuits Filed Against Amazon For Music Streaming

In three related cases, plaintiffs Ray Henderson Music Co., Four Jays Music Company, and SA Music, LLC filed complaints against Amazon for copyright infringement in relation to music streaming. The suits were filed in the Washington Western District Court. All plaintiffs across the Amazon suits are represented by the Mann Law Group. The first line of each suit apparently erroneously mentions Google as a defendant; both Ray Henderson Music and Four Jays Music filed a suit against Google the same day they filed the suit against Amazon. Four Jays Music and SA Music have previously sued Apple for copyright infringement. Substantial portions of the complaints against each of the companies are the same or very similar. Different firms represented these companies in their lawsuits against Google and Apple.

Ray Henderson Music claimed that Amazon infringed on its copyright by streaming copyrighted music without a license and selling pirated copies of the music. “Digital phonorecord deliveries of musical recordings constitute a reproduction and distribution of the musical works embodied in the digital recording and require a license from the copyright owner of the musical composition, sometimes referred to as a ‘mechanical license.’” However, Amazon did not “obtain any license that would authorize them to reproduce, distribute, or sell the recordings.” Ray Henderson Music has identified at least 60 pirated recordings, according to the complaint. Further, “[t]he scope and flagrant nature of Defendants’ piracy cannot be understated. It is obvious that the recordings listed…are pirated by virtue of the scope of the Limitless catalog, the replication of the original album artwork (while removing the original label logos), and the continued distribution of legitimate versions of the recordings by the rightful record owners on Amazon…In many instances, Amazon Play is selling the legitimate release by the original label side by side with Limitless’s bootlegged copy.” The complaint stated that the infringing works copied the music and original album art, removed the record label’s logo and are often selling it at a discounted price. Defendants have financially benefited from their infringement; instead of obtaining a license they copied released music and sold it as if they owned the music.

Four Jays Music claimed that Amazon and the other defendants did not obtain any other license allowing them to “reproduce, distribute, or sell the recordings.” Its arguments run parallel to that of Ray Henderson Music, except the songs referenced are those owned by Four Jays Music.

SA Music’s argument is similar to that of Ray Henderson Music and Four Jays Music. Each suit uses the same examples of Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Joel Tenenbaum to contextualize individuals who illegally copy music and the damages they had to pay. The cases also mention the case Duchess Music Corp. v. Stern.  Plaintiffs have sought a declaration that the infringement was willful, an award for damages, and a permanent injunction.