Apple accused of ignoring ‘massive’ music piracy on iTunes

Apple accused of ignoring ‘massive’ music piracy on iTunes


100 Greatest Big Hits of the 1920's, Vol. 3 continues multipolar examples of music piracy on Apple iTunes.
100 Greatest Big Hits of the 1920's, Vol. 3 on iTunes allegedly includes seven pirated recordings of songs by one composer.
Photo: Apple

Lawyers representing a group of music composers from the 20th century have accused Apple of being “recklessly indifferent or willfully blind” to the actions of a company that operates a “massive music piracy operation” on iTunes.

A legal complaint was filed Monday by the law firm of Schwartz, Ponterio & Levenson on behalf of the people and companies that now hold the copyrights to songs written by Harold Arlen, Ray Henderson and Harry Warren. These three wrote such classics as “Over the Rainbow,” “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and many more.

Apple “willfully blind” to music piracy?

Cult of Mac obtained a copy of the copyright-infringement complaint filed today by the law firm with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It alleges that a U.K. company called Adasam distributes and sells pirated recordings on iTunes under the imprint names Blue Orchid, Six Week Smile and Atlantic Motion.

Among these recordings are supposedly over 80 that were composed by Arlen, Henderson or Warren, and the sales are happening without the authorization of their heirs. For example, the lawyers call out the album 100 Greatest Big Hits of the 1920’s, Vol. 3 on iTunes for including “no less than seven pirated recordings of Ray Henderson’s works.”

Furthermore, the legal complaint says, “Apple did not perform any investigation or due diligence to confirm that Adasam had the authorization to reproduce, distribute, make, or authorize“ the music the company is alleged to have pirated. And it profits from the sales.

The law firm is requesting a jury trial to determine the facts in this case. It also wants all profits earned from selling its clients’ songs, or “a separate award of statutory damages in amounts to be determined by the jury.” In addition, the firm requests a permanent injunction baring Adasam and Apple from continuing to infringe on the copyrights of these three composers.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.