This article, authored by intellectual property partner Sid Venkatesan and intellectual property associate James Freedman, discusses the impact of the New York appellate court ruling in UMG Recordings v. Escape Media Group on Internet companies that host or transmit sound recordings made before 1972. An excerpt from the article is included below.
A New York appellate court has recently ruled in UMG Recordings v. Escape Media Group that the safe harbor protections that Congress designed for Internet companies do not cover sound recordings made before 1972. The decision is a new and unexpected break with earlier decisions by state and federal trial courts.
As a result, Internet companies that host or transmit songs before 1972, including hits from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley, may no longer rely upon the DMCA's safe harbors to insulate them from potentially crippling legal liability as a result of copyright infringement that arises from downloading, hosting or transmitting copyrighted sound recordings.