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IN BRIEF/Entertainment

Company to Pay Fine for Worker Song Swapping

April 10, 2002|Reuters

The recording industry announced it had collected $1 million from a company that let employees swap songs on an internal computer server.

Arizona-based Integrated Information Systems Inc., which ran a dedicated server permitting employees to access and distribute thousands of music files over their company computer network, agreed to pay the Recording Industry Assn. of America $1 million rather than go to trial.

The trade group, which represents major music companies such as AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Music, Bertelsmann's BMG, Sony Corp.'s Sony Music, Vivendi Universal and EMI Group, has been on a legal crusade to stamp out online copyright infringement since successfully hobbling Napster, the original song-swapping service, with a preliminary injunction last year.

"This sends a clear message that there are consequences if companies allow their resources to further copyright infringement," said Matt Oppenheim, RIAA vice president, business and legal affairs.

The RIAA became aware in mid-2001 of an IIS company server dedicated solely to allowing employees to post and share thousands of copyrighted MP3 files, which are digitally compressed music files.

The RIAA also said it reached a $3.2-million settlement from CD manufacturing company DOCdata USA to resolve claims the company had pressed dozens of infringing CDs, including albums by Santana, Toni Braxton and Destiny's Child.



Clear Channel Accused of Discrimination in Suit

Clear Channel Communications Inc.'s entertainment unit is accused in a government lawsuit of discriminating against diabetic concert-goers by refusing to let them bring insulin supplies into venues.

Clear Channel Entertainment, the world's biggest concert promoter with about 110 locations in the U.S., forces diabetics "to choose between being barred from concerts or taking unreasonable health risks," the Justice Department said in announcing the discrimination suit filed in Philadelphia.

The suit accuses the unit of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by creating a policy barring diabetic supplies and enforcing it against two people in Pennsylvania who tried to take insulin or blood-testing equipment into a concert.

The suit was filed after settlement negotiations failed, the Justice Department said.

"Individuals with diabetes are entitled to attend and enjoy community events, like anyone else, without putting their lives at risk," said Ralph Boyd, assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights. The policy "is unnecessary and reflects outdated fears about individuals with disabilities."

The suit says Clear Channel Entertainment has a policy prohibiting patrons from taking syringes into a venue, including needles used for insulin or lancets for blood-testing. It also doesn't allow diabetics to take food into a venue.

The suit asks the court to end that policy and award compensatory damages to those who were barred from concerts. It also seeks civil penalties for the Justice Department.

A spokesman for San Antonio-based Clear Channel Entertainment refused to comment.

Bloomberg News


MGM's Top Execs Extend Contracts

Film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. said Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Yemenidjian has agreed to a five-year contract extension on substantially the same terms.

Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Chris McGurk also agreed to an extension of his employment agreement until April 30, 2007, MGM said.

MGM shares rose 8 cents to $16.45 on the NYSE.


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