Using Music Often Requires Permission
Most people know that to use someone’s music in enumerated ways, whether performing it live for an audience or on television or in the background of a movie, you should always obtain permission. Sometimes, you can use it for free. Other times, the owner will have you purchase a license and pay for using the song.
Some licenses are more expensive than others, and some are prohibitively so. Regardless, using someone’s music without proper permission or license is copyright infringement.
Music Composer Has Sued Ford Company For Copyright Infringement
The Detroit News reported on April 17, 2020, that Freeplay Music LLC (FPM) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. The suit contains a multitude of allegations that the automaker, without permission, used more than 50 songs in the Plaintiff’s digital music catalog, violating copyright law over and over. Scott Schreer owns Freeplay and its online library of over 50 thousand works. Court papers describe him as “one of America’s most prolific and performed TV composers and producers.”
FPM used software to determine that Ford used its music in at least 74 videos and promotions.
According to its complaint, FPM informed Ford of the infringement in 2017. Ford did not then and has not since been able to provide evidence that it obtained a single proper license. The Detroit News stated that “FPM claims Ford continued to use songs without permission, until as recently as” April 13, 2020.
Composer Seeks Millions in Copyright Infringement Case
FPM’s lawyers speculate that the Schreer could collect millions. Arguing that it lost licensing fees and profits for this “willful copyright infringement,” FPM wants nothing less than the 150,000 per infringement the US copyright allows. FPM’s lawyers told the Detroit News that they estimate the copyright infringement to be worth over 8 million in damages for their client.
Copyright Law Gives Exclusive Rights to the Creator
Creators of original music automatically have rights under US Copyright Laws. Creative professionals have the right to control the use of their work and get paid for it. Others may use it only with permission, usually in the form of a license agreement.
The agreement sets the terms of payment and any limitations to which the copyright owner and the user can agree. Someone can assign or sell his or her copyright as well, with no limits. The point is: the person who created the art or music or writing gets to dictate how they want it used and at what price.
In this particular case, the complaint alleges that the FPM website makes it clear what a visitor to the site must do to secure a license and permission to use songs. The Plaintiff suggests that Ford, which is a billion-dollar company, should have known better than to infringe on its copyright once, let alone dozens of times.
Contact Our Copyright Infringement Lawyers at Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC.
Photographers, artists, and musicians call the Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, to find attorneys devoted to protecting copyrights. You can reach our experienced copyright lawyers at 800-778-1660. Call today for a free evaluation of your copyright claim.