Song Owners Sue Over Free Online Access to Artists’ Hits

     NASHVILLE (CN) – MCS Music America and a slew of song owners have accused Microsoft, RealNetworks and Yahoo! of allowing Internet users to stream and temporarily download copyrighted tunes without paying royalties.

     A federal lawsuit claims the defendants offer songs by Grand Funk Railroad, Conway Twitty, The Carpenters and many other artists on the sites, and None of the sites asked for or received permission to use the tunes, the owners claim.
     The sites purportedly give browsers the option of streaming the music online or downloading them during a free trial period. If users choose to subscribe, they pay a monthly fee to download an unlimited number of songs. The copyright owners are not paid for these transmissions, they claim.
     MCS Music America does not directly own any copyrights, but is the licensing and copyright administrator for the owners.
     Plaintiffs seek $150,000 per copyright violation and are represented by Stephen Grauberger of Grauberger, Pierce & Green in Mount Juliet, Tenn.

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