LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – EMI Group Plc, one of the world’s largest music companies, has filed a federal lawsuit against Electronic Arts Inc., the world’s largest video game publisher, over claims of copyright infringement in EA’s highly successful sports games.
The suit, filed in federal court in New York on Wednesday, says a number of EA’s recent sports titles, like “Madden NFL 2004,” “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004” and “MVP Baseball 2004” use songs that “embody copyrighted musical compositions that EMI owns, co-owns, administers or otherwise controls.”
EA and other publishers have increasingly made music an important part of their games, debuting new songs by both up-and-coming and established artists in their games before the artist’s CD is released. Some have established divisions dedicated to producing and acquiring music for their titles.
“This entire lawsuit is related to a single song that samples lyrics from another song,” Electronic Arts said in a statement. “Our use of that song was licensed directly from the artist. We have agreements for every song used in our games.”
EMI claimed in the suit that EA sought licenses throughout 2003 from EMI for the use of certain songs for its sport games, but then released the games before the licenses were granted.
Subsequently, EMI said, EA renewed its license requests in mid-February of this year. EMI countered with a letter in early March claiming its rights had been infringed and withdrawing any outstanding licensing offers.
The suit seeks damages and the potential award of a percentage of EA’s profits on those games, which EMI said was “believed to be tens of millions of dollars.”
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News source: Reuters