JAY MILLER: National Music Publishers Assoc. Copyright-Infringment Battle

The National Music Publishers Association filed copyright-infringement suits against two businesses, including one owned by MySpace cofounder Brad Greenspan, that publish lyrics online for profit.

The actions are the music industry’s latest salvos against what it sees as stealing content. Though the industry has been largely successful in its legal battles, the rise of Napster a decade ago was an early sign that the move to digital media had let the genie out of the bottle by allowing easy sharing over networks. Lyrics, though not as lucrative as the music itself, are also protected by copyrights.

“These sites are profiting on the backs of songwriters. It is unfortunate that copyright holders must so frequently divert energies to protect their rights to license and distribute their works,” said David Israelite, NMPA president and chief executive. “However, the demand for music prompts a seemingly endless stream of illegal business models.”

Peermusic, Warner/Chappell and Bug Music filed an action against LiveUniverse Inc. and owner Brad Greenspan in the federal court of the central district of California. The publishers also filed a similar action against Sean Colombo and Motive Force LLC in the western district of Pennsylvania.

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