«Over the Rainbow» composer’s son accuses Apple and others of piracy

Harold Arlen

We generally comment on cases of lawsuits against Apple related to fights with other companies over patents, or consumers who took Apple to court for problems with the company’s products. This, however, does not mean that the Cupertino giant is not in the middle of other imbroglios, as we will see below.

This time, the target of the lawsuit does not only include Apple, but also includes other giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Pandora. In short, these companies are being accused by the record company SA Music and by the son of Harold Arlen (owner of the rights of the composer’s creations) to design a “musical piracy operation”.

The son of the music composer of the film “The Wizard of Oz” («Over the Rainbow» – winner of the Oscar for “Best Song” in 1939) claimed in the process that streaming of music distributed unauthorized versions of copyrighted tracks. The process takes place in the Central District Court of California and also involves a large number of distributors and music studios.

Although the process focuses on licensing these songs, a topic that Apple is accustomed to based on the various actions against it over the years, the accusations do not revolve around the lack of payments for royalties; instead, the lawsuit blames digital music stores and music services streaming to sell over 6,000 unauthorized recordings of Arlen’s songs.

Many of these songs are even being sold below the price of authorized versions. In California, failure to obtain a license to authorize the reproduction, distribution, sale or transmission of recordings is considered a violation of the composer’s property rights.

Lawyers say online retailers have known this for years, but have not acted. According to the prosecution, «the more recordings and albums defendants make available in their stores and services, the better they are able to attract buyers and subscribers.»

Due to the large number of defendants, the case includes a total of 216 complaints against the aforementioned companies, with Apple cited in 39 cases.

The composer’s son and the record company are asking for a jury trial, which the companies must declare that there was an infraction, in addition to a permanent injunction that prohibits the perpetuation of the infraction. Finally, they seek compensation for legal damages to be determined by the jury and the payment of legal fees.

via Cult of Mac