RIAA files copyright suit against Project Playlist

Music industry accuses company that makes embeddable music player of infringing on intellectual property.

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

The recording industry filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging that Project Playlist, a company that provides an embeddable music player used at MySpace and Facebook, has violated its copyright.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by CNET News.com, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed suit on behalf of nine record labels and accuses Project Playlist of making unauthorized reproductions of their music.

"Project Playlist performs and reproduces plaintiffs' valuable works (and induces and enables others to do so) without any authorization whatsoever," the RIAA said in its complaint, "without paying any compensation whatsoever."

"Defendant is well aware that the overwhelming majority of the sound recordings in its index are infringing," the RIAA continued. "The overwhelming majority of the third-party Web sites that host these recordings do so illegally."

In the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern district of New York, the RIAA has asked for unspecified damages.

It's unclear why none of the labels belonging to Sony BMG Music Entertainment were named as plaintiffs. The lawsuit said that some of the artists whose music was used without authorization are U2, Eminem, Elton John, The Beatles, Coldplay, and Sheryl Crow.

Representatives from Project Playlist could not be reached. On the company's Web site, Project Playlist said that it is "committed to copyright protection" and does not support illegal copying of music files.

"We make it easy for our users to create a playlist that points to a series of music files hosted on third party Web sites," Project Playlist said on its site. "We do not control those third party Web sites. We do not host music files."

Companies that allegedly facilitate the distribution of pirated content have tried to argue that because they don't host unauthorized files they don't violate copyright. That hasn't stopped the RIAA or the motion-picture industry from filing suit.

The most recent example was TorrentSpy, a popular BitTorrent tracker that closed down last month after fighting a two-year legal battle with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The lawsuit against Project Playlist was first reported by Reuters.