Universal Music claims that a private company providing commissary services to prisons across the US is selling inmates pirated music in the form of mixtapes, and it wants the courts to stop it.
Universal Music claims in a federal lawsuit that the Keefe Group and its associated companies are selling “contraband” CDs to prisoners. According to the labels’ federal suit (PDF) filed in Los Angeles:
These infringing products include popular and valuable sound recordings and musical compositions owned by Plaintiffs and featuring performances by such legendary artists as James Brown, Eminem, the Jackson Five, LL Cool J, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder, among many others. Defendants boast on their website that their business “was developed to eliminate contraband,” yet the infringing copies of Plaintiffs’ sound recordings and musical compositions, in which Defendants unlawfully transact and from which they unjustly profit, are contraband personified.
The suit appears to be a novel form of infringement litigation from the recording industry. What’s more, the case comes six months after recording artists and labels sued automakers over in-car audio ripping systems. The industry is also eyeing litigation with airlines over the public performance of its copyrights.
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