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Major Canadian record labels facing massive infringement claims

By Maciej Lewandowski     Dec 8, 2009 in Crime
Four major Canadian labels: Warner Music, Sony BMG, EMI, and Universal Music admitted to the illegal use of over 300,000 songs.
As a law professor at the University of Ottawa, Michael Geist reports the labels used the unpaid tracks in compilation CDs (such as 'Top Dance Music' or 'The Best of R&B') but instead to obtain the necessary copyright licences, they put them on so-called "pending lists."
This process began in the late 1980s, when the copyright law in Canada was changed.
On his blog, Geist says Bruce Springsteen, Chet Baker and Beyonce are among the artists whose songs are used by the recording companies without securing the rights.
To date, there are more than 300,000 songs on the "pending lists" and according to Geist the record labels openly admit they have not obtained copyright permission and not paid any royalty or fee.
The unpaid artists, tired of such proceedings described as "exploit now, pay later if at all," sued the music industry over 300,000 songs. The lawsuit is available here (PDF file).
As the OS News website notes, the music industry successfully argued in Canada that pirates have to pay $20,000 per infringement, which means the labels face $6 billion in damages.
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