Apple Music, Beats under legal attack over third-party licensing practices

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
A musician apparently disgruntled at how Beats Music and Apple Music has handled its streaming obligations is looking to fire up a class action suit, and is accusing Apple of intentionally deleting records and under-counting downloads and streams in order to pay artists less -- or not at all.




Musician Bryan Eich owns the publishing rights to two albums, spanning 18 tracks. According to Eich's court filing, Apple never served a notice of intent to obtain compulsory licenses within one month of making available the two album.

Eich claims that Apple "engaged in a systematic process of infringement" by not sending the notice of intent, deliberately deleting stream information, altering the streaming reports, and failing to properly report to him, and presumably others, to "conceal the infringements."

The issue appears to be a disconnect of some sort between third-party aggregators and the musicians. Eich is seeking class members who own the publishing rights to recordings, and submitted the recordings to Beats and now Apple through the aggregators.

In this case, music clearing house CD Baby appears to be where the breakdown somehow occurred. The suit filing claims that when Beats Music went live in 2012, CD Baby submitted most of its catalog, including Eich's recordings, for review. Eich claims that he was unaware at the time that his recordings were submitted for review.

If there was any error with how Beats Music handled the notice of intent, it is now an error carried forward to Apple Music. According to the filing, Beats did not serve notices of intent on independent artists "as a matter of corporate policy" -- and Apple was aware of that. Eich notes an active lawsuit on Aug. 1, 2014 when the purchase was made over the same matter.

Eich claims that Apple's counsel was informed of the possibly ongoing issue on August 11, with an undated second attempt at contact. Apple's non-response is being interpreted by Eich as "intentional conduct" subjecting Apple to "enhanced statutory damages."

The filing also claims that the streaming royalties for recordings owned by Eich and some of the named plaintiffs for the suit are "$0.000000." As such, Eich believes that Apple "has failed to include, and/or changed the revenue owed for streams."

The lawsuit has certificate of registration for the pairs of albums, but no copies of reports from Apple. It is unclear from the court filing how many times that Eich's tracks were streamed from Beats Music or Apple Music, or if they were streamed at all.

The suit was electronically filed on Sunday. A search on Apple Music on Sunday night did not reveal the artist's albums.

«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    macxpressjkichlinewilliamhrepressthiswatto_cobrajbdragonmagman1979bshankjony0
  • Reply 2 of 31
    I don’t subscribe to Apple Music but I checked the iTunes Store and nothing came up. I already knew SpamSandwich was asking the right questions but it may also be that this guy’s work isn’t even available through Apple.  (Or maybe Apple pulled it?)
    edited December 2017 longpathwatto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 31
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    Utter bullshit! Why would Apple want to do that to no-name artists? Besides, who downloads music anymore? Streaming, ok?
    watto_cobrajbdragonmagman1979
  • Reply 4 of 31
    So CD Baby is an aggregator that made a mistake and he's suing ........... Apple?

    So are all artists now going to sue Apple because of issues between them and the companies who represent them?
    longpathindyfxwatto_cobrajbdragonmagman1979bshankjony0
  • Reply 5 of 31
    So CD Baby is an aggregator that made a mistake and he's suing ........... Apple?

    So are all artists now going to sue Apple because of issues between them and the companies who represent them?
    It's the well established principle of going after the party that has the most money.  You can't squeeze water out of a stone.
    watto_cobrajbdragonJWSCmagman1979
  • Reply 6 of 31
    fallenjt said:
    Utter bullshit! Why would Apple want to do that to no-name artists? Besides, who downloads music anymore? Streaming, ok?
    Yeah. F*** the musicians and their music. 
    singularitymwhiteBubbaTwo
  • Reply 7 of 31
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    Maybe he is. What does that have to do with his right to do this? Are you — and the others here who appear to agree with you —saying that he had to be aTaylor Swift to take on a big company? If so, you sound like a third-rate corporate lobbyist. 
    singularitySoliphilboogiefracBubbaTwo
  • Reply 8 of 31
    So CD Baby is an aggregator that made a mistake and he's suing ........... Apple?

    So are all artists now going to sue Apple because of issues between them and the companies who represent them?
    If CD Baby didn’t represent its artists properly and make sure that Beats gave the proper notice then it’s CD Baby that’s at fault. 
    Soliwatto_cobrajbdragonmagman1979bshankjony0
  • Reply 9 of 31
    Unfortunately for Bryan Eich, no corporate lobbyists will be required to dismiss this case, since the facts don't seem to be on his side. Unless you can explain a subtle nuance the rest of us are missing, Bryan Eich is simply not on Apple Music, so how in the world is he being "cheated" out of his earnings when none of his music is available for playback?
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    Maybe he is. What does that have to do with his right to do this? Are you — and the others here who appear to agree with you —saying that he had to be aTaylor Swift to take on a big company? If so, you sound like a third-rate corporate lobbyist. 
    Apple has no legal, moral, or ethical obligation to provide a dumping ground for every single song that was ever written by anyone, regardless of talent. Being small and unknown does not magically give a musician's work "street cred" or turn it into a "hidden gem". Mr. Eich's songs simply don't have much of a following, and Apple declined to list his work. Bryan Eich apparently has all of 269 listeners on Pandora, a number of videos on YouTube from a few years ago that are "not available", and a music video on Vimeo with all of *8* views. He's also on Google Play, so there's that. There's no "corporate conspiracy" to cheat Bryan Eich. He simply doesn't have much of a following. Does Apple need to give out token payments to every musician, to give them an A for effort, regardless of having any listeners to their music - even if their music isn't available on Apple's store? Mr. Eich should focus more on his work as a musician and building a following, instead of trying to litigate his way to success.
    watto_cobrawilliamhdewmejbdragonrazorpitbshank
  • Reply 10 of 31
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,263member
    I doubt this will go anywhere due to (thus far) any evidence that anyone other than Mr. Eich (i.e. a systemic and ritual practice), and from a cursory look at the filing it would appear that his actual beef is with CD Baby rather than Apple (though i would wager highly that CD Baby *did* include the proper notifications in its contract with Mr. Eich, as it is *the entire point* of their business), so for the moment I suspect this is more of a publicity stunt/"hope they settle" Hail Mary than a legit complaint. Having said that, the biggest problem with streaming continues to be a lack of independent accounting, and that every musician -- even Taylor Swift -- makes less with it than they would have if streaming didn't exist. I have heard an argument that the vast reduction in music piracy makes up for this, and possibly that's true to a degree, but only for those who were barely affected by it in the first place (iow the biggest acts). It's still killing indie labels and record stores and other more lucrative outlets for musicians. A significant adjustment in how profitable streaming is is well overdue.
    JohnnyGagnon1
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Unfortunately for Bryan Eich, no corporate lobbyists will be required to dismiss this case, since the facts don't seem to be on his side. Unless you can explain a subtle nuance the rest of us are missing, Bryan Eich is simply not on Apple Music, so how in the world is he being "cheated" out of his earnings when none of his music is available for playback?
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    Maybe he is. What does that have to do with his right to do this? Are you — and the others here who appear to agree with you —saying that he had to be aTaylor Swift to take on a big company? If so, you sound like a third-rate corporate lobbyist. 
    Apple has no legal, moral, or ethical obligation to provide a dumping ground for every single song that was ever written by anyone, regardless of talent. Being small and unknown does not magically give a musician's work "street cred" or turn it into a "hidden gem". Mr. Eich's songs simply don't have much of a following, and Apple declined to list his work. Bryan Eich apparently has all of 269 listeners on Pandora, a number of videos on YouTube from a few years ago that are "not available", and a music video on Vimeo with all of *8* views. He's also on Google Play, so there's that. There's no "corporate conspiracy" to cheat Bryan Eich. He simply doesn't have much of a following. Does Apple need to give out token payments to every musician, to give them an A for effort, regardless of having any listeners to their music - even if their music isn't available on Apple's store? Mr. Eich should focus more on his work as a musician and building a following, instead of trying to litigate his way to success.
    “Corporate conspiracy”? Who said anything about a corporate conspiracy? Calm down. 

    I am am sure he greatly appreciates your career advice. 
    edited December 2017 singularityphilboogie
  • Reply 12 of 31
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    Maybe he is. What does that have to do with his right to do this? Are you — and the others here who appear to agree with you —saying that he had to be aTaylor Swift to take on a big company? If so, you sound like a third-rate corporate lobbyist. 
    I’ll have you know I’m a first-rate corporate lobbyist.  

    /s
    edited December 2017 cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 31
    Anilu_777 said:
    So CD Baby is an aggregator that made a mistake and he's suing ........... Apple?

    So are all artists now going to sue Apple because of issues between them and the companies who represent them?
    If CD Baby didn’t represent its artists properly and make sure that Beats gave the proper notice then it’s CD Baby that’s at fault. 

    CD Baby does a good job normally. You get streaming stats for Apple Music and iTunes downloads a few days after they occur. You get setup on iTunes connect to control your artist profile, etc. I doubt whatever problem he has with his albums was intentional by any of the parties. CD Baby lest you opt-in to which partners you provide your music to. So not sure how it would have gone to Apple without him knowing about.
    tenthousandthingsJWSC
  • Reply 14 of 31
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,581member
    How can this guy prove that his music was streamed during this period and that Apples calculation of 0p is correct? Unless he was streaming it?
  • Reply 15 of 31
    irnchriz said:
    How can this guy prove that his music was streamed during this period and that Apples calculation of 0p is correct? Unless he was streaming it?
    If he streamed it and got no royalty, that might indicate something was amiss. In any event, my guess is that Apple’s calculations were correct. 
  • Reply 16 of 31
    fallenjt said:
    Utter bullshit! Why would Apple want to do that to no-name artists? Besides, who downloads music anymore? Streaming, ok?
    I don't stream. I really don't want to have to pay per listen to something that I can have either as a physical media or download.
    This probably goes back to having 500+ Vinyl Albums, some quite rare and valuable.
    If I can't buy the CD/Vinyl or download it then I don't listen to it.
    Most of my listening on the move is done via my iPod in Airplane mode.
    croprsanswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 31
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 263member
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    Perhaps. But every artist began as a "nobody". I  just hope this is cleared up so that every "nobody" gets a fair shake.
    tenthousandthings
  • Reply 18 of 31
    qwwera said:
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    Perhaps. But every artist began as a "nobody". I  just hope this is cleared up so that every "nobody" gets a fair shake.
    Perhaps someone (a lawyer???) has told him that this will be his 15 minutes of fame event?
    Then his name will actually register on the search engines?

  • Reply 19 of 31
    They don't specify the lawsuit they claim was active on August 1, 2014 (the day Apple bought Beats). The implication is that it was brought against Beats' (apparent) practice of not independently contacting each artist in the CD Baby catalogue with a NOI. But they don't say what happened in that lawsuit. Probably safe to assume Apple is on solid ground in this respect.

    The second part, about payments, seems like a fishing expedition, to try to force Apple to supply massive amounts of data. Again, what is CD Baby's role? What would the royalties be from just a few streams a month? Could it be less than $0.0000001 or whatever? Especially after CD Baby and Apple take their cut?

    Does not seem like a terribly well-constructed lawsuit, but IANAL.
    edited December 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 31
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,476member
    Unfortunately for Bryan Eich, no corporate lobbyists will be required to dismiss this case, since the facts don't seem to be on his side. Unless you can explain a subtle nuance the rest of us are missing, Bryan Eich is simply not on Apple Music, so how in the world is he being "cheated" out of his earnings when none of his music is available for playback?
    Maybe the problem is Bryan Eich is a nobody? Something to think about anyway.
    Maybe he is. What does that have to do with his right to do this? Are you — and the others here who appear to agree with you —saying that he had to be aTaylor Swift to take on a big company? If so, you sound like a third-rate corporate lobbyist. 
    Apple has no legal, moral, or ethical obligation to provide a dumping ground for every single song that was ever written by anyone, regardless of talent. Being small and unknown does not magically give a musician's work "street cred" or turn it into a "hidden gem". Mr. Eich's songs simply don't have much of a following, and Apple declined to list his work. Bryan Eich apparently has all of 269 listeners on Pandora, a number of videos on YouTube from a few years ago that are "not available", and a music video on Vimeo with all of *8* views. He's also on Google Play, so there's that. There's no "corporate conspiracy" to cheat Bryan Eich. He simply doesn't have much of a following. Does Apple need to give out token payments to every musician, to give them an A for effort, regardless of having any listeners to their music - even if their music isn't available on Apple's store? Mr. Eich should focus more on his work as a musician and building a following, instead of trying to litigate his way to success.


    I will assume for now your information is accurate, when I read this guys complain, my mind went exactly here. No one is listening thus no reason to pay. But he obviously found a lawyer who is willing to waste his time and money in hope for a big pay out.

    The guy must be hearing his music in dreams and thinks others are also listening.

    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.