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UMG sues poker website over unlicensed music in podcasts


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Gambling-focused website PokerNews is on the wrong end of a lawsuit from a group of Universal Music’s labels, alleging wilful copyright infringement.

How does a site about poker news infringe music copyrights? The issue here is music used in podcasts published by the site’s owner iBus Media. “Among the content made available by iBus Media on PokerNews, and through other forums, are hundreds of podcasts that intentionally incorporate significant portions of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted musical works,” claims the lawsuit.

“iBus Media was notified that it was infringing Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works nearly three years ago. Nevertheless, iBus Media continues to infringe. iBus Media’s infringement is therefore willful and deliberate.” 46 songs are listed in the complaint, according to TorrentFreak.

With podcasts currently an area of intense focus for streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, those companies will be watching this lawsuit closely, and perhaps having a glance at the podcasts being distributed through their platforms. Perhaps the lawsuit will also spark discussion about the current options for podcast publishers to license commercial music, and whether there’s scope to make the process easier. Then again, if you’re an AI-music startup or production-music library, this kind of case is undoubtedly a potential calling-card for your business too.

Stuart Dredge

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