According to a complaint filed in New York federal court, the defendants are duplicating sound recordings and music videos, installing the allegedly infringed copies to servers located on board aircraft and then transmitting performances to passengers. All without paying any baggage fees.
While a bit sensational, and a fluid area of law, it appears that is outsourcing relevant parts of the management of its inflight entertainment technology — such as obtaining content for its systems. The article claims a rights management company acknowledged to Sony that unlicensed content was being used, and was attempting to negotiate to make good on this. The lawsuit then may be a negotiating tactic.
United is the bigger pocket here than the entertainment company they’re outsourcing to, though I’d guess there’s some sort of indemnification in the agreement between the two.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction against United’s continuing to use their owned music in its inflight entertainment, as well as a portion of profits and additional damages.
The profits piece is interesting, while some customers might choose United for channel 9 inflight air traffic control where available I’d doubt that many are choosing it for the airline’s particular inflight music offerings!
(HT: Jim J.)
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