The High Court of England and Wales has ruled against digital radio company TuneIn in a copyright infringement case brought by Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.
The lawsuit filed by the two major record companies alleged that TuneIn played and rebroadcast music without a U.K. license. Of particular concern was the TuneIn’s Pro app, which has a record feature that allows the app to effectively function as a download on-demand service.
TuneIn currently has more than 75 million monthly active users.
This win for the two labels is likely to embolden other rightsholders to file legal actions against TuneIn in the UK, as well as other countries where it is available. TuneIn’s website is available in 22 languages, each with its own content tailored for the specific language or region. TuneIn also offers 5.7 million on-demand programs.
Sony Music Entertainment commented:
“The UK Court’s ruling is a critical move in the right direction, and we appreciate its work in reaching a decision in this case. Today’s judgement confirms what we have long known to be true: that TuneIn is unlawfully redistributing and commercializing links to unlicensed music on a widespread scale.
“While this decision marks an important victory against TuneIn’s blatant copyright infringement in the UK, the company continues to unlawfully profit from massive global commercialization of unlicensed copyrighted sound recordings by turning a blind eye to basic licensing requirements and hiding behind safe harbor claims to avoid paying music creators.
“This deprives music creators of compensation for their work, and gives TuneIn an unfair competitive advantage in relation to licensed webcasters that honor their legal obligations and respect the need for artists to receive a fair return on the essential value they provide.”