MANHATTAN (CN) – The TufAmerica music label claims Amazon.com and its subsidiary On-Demand Publishing manufactured and sold hundreds of counterfeit CDs containing thousands of TufAmerica’s blues, jazz and hip-hop tunes, without a license.
TufAmerica operates five music labels: Tuff City Music Group, which releases original hip hop albums; Old Skool Flava, which reissues previously released hip hop albums; Night Train, which releases New Orleans blues and jazz; Soul-Tay-Shus, which issues soul albums; and Swing Time, which releases vintage blues records.
TufAmerica says it agreed in September 2006 to license “thousands” of songs to Digital Music Group, the predecessor of the third defendant, Orchard Enterprises.
The agreement limited Digital Music’s use of the songs to digital download as songs and ringtones only, according to the federal complaint.
But TufAmerica claims the three defendants conspired to manufacture and sell “hundreds of different ‘manufacture on demand’ counterfeit compact discs that incorporate thousands of TufAmerica musical recordings for which defendants have no license.”
Amazon even uses TufAmerica’s copyrighted label names to sell the counterfeit CDs, according to the complaint.
The defendants sold a single three-minute song on a CD bearing the Tuff City label for $15.99, which TufAmerica says damages its reputation, since customers are likely to be unsatisfied with that price.
TufAmerica seeks an injunction, destruction of the infringing CDs, and punitive damages for conspiracy, unfair competition, and trademark and copyright violations.
It is represented by Kelly Talcott of Sea Cliff, New York.
The complaint includes an exhibit of 25 single-spaced pages of tunes that the defendants allegedly sold without license. Artists on the list include Ike Turner, Johnny Otis, Jimmy Witherspoon, Buddy Tate and Percy Mayfield.