Just An Online Minute... Vengeance Is Mine: Big Media's Anti-Piracy Tussles

When Universal Music Group filed suit against MySpace last year for copyright infringement, the legal move had some unexpected ramifications.

A report in today's Wall Street Journal says that News Corp. retaliated for the lawsuit by prohibiting the use of Universal tracks in its TV shows and movies. TV producers were frustrated in attempts to use songs like U2's "One," and Night Ranger's "Sister Christian," the newspaper reports. "It was like doing my job with one hand tied behind my back," a music supervisor for the Twentieth Century Fox Television show "Bones" complained to the Journal.

In fact, executives from News Corp. reportedly came around and recently lifted the prohibition last month. But these types of disputes appear to pop up with increasing frequency, as music companies continue their aggressive attempts to stop piracy.

Last week, it was Warner Music Group who imposed a ban sparked by copyright infringement concerns. The Journal recently reported that Warner was boycotting Nokia's online music store because another Nokia site, Mosh, allegedly contains pirated Warner material.

That move makes even less sense than Fox's attempt at retaliation against Universal. Warner clearly isn't going to end piracy by declining to sell its tracks lawfully. If anything, the refusal spurs piracy by giving people fewer options to purchase music legally.

Clearly, music companies are frustrated that they can't stop users from sharing clips or downloading pirated tracks online. But the current wave of lawsuits, not to mention the refusal to sell tracks online, doesn't appear to be benefiting anyone.

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