Pink Floyd wins court fight on downloads

The U.K.'s High Court sides with famed British rock band and tells EMI no more selling individual song downloads without Pink Floyd's permission.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

Rock band Pink Floyd has won a court battle against downtrodden EMI that may force the record company to stop selling the band's individual songs as downloads, according to reports.

The lobby at EMI's New York headquarters. Greg Sandoval/CNET

The U.K.'s High Court ruled that EMI Music isn't entitled to exploit individual recordings via the Web or any other distribution means without Pink Floyd's consent, according to a story by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Pink Floyd charged in its suit that the financially troubled label violated its contract by selling individual songs. The label countered that the clause in the contract that prohibited those song sales applied only to physical DVDs or albums.

EMI denied that the court's decision would require it to stop selling Pink Floyd's individual songs on iTunes, Amazon or any other Web music service.

"Today's judgment does not require EMI to cease making Pink Floyd's catalog available as single track downloads," EMI said in a statement. "EMI continues to sell Pink Floyd's music digitally and in other formats."

The band's most recent contract was signed prior to the rise of digital music, according to the BBC and a report in The Associated Press.

The BBC's story didn't make it clear whether the famed rock band, known for albums such as The Wall (from 1979) and The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), is opposed to the sale of individual songs on the Web or to the narrower point of EMI doing so without its permission. What is also unclear is how many acts this decision could affect in the future.

The High Court fined EMI $60,000, with an additional fine to be decided later, the BBC reported. Pink Floyd also objected to the way EMI paid royalties for downloads.

Corrected at 8:53 a.m. PST: This story incorrectly stated how the court's decision will affect EMI. It is unclear whether the label will be forced to stop selling individual song downloads of Pink Floyd's music.

Updated 8:50 a.m. PST:to include EMI statement.