Court stymies attempt to limit ringtones

Finally, common sense prevails.

The fact that others can hear copyrighted music when your cell phone rings does not make you a copyright violator. That’s what a federal judge ruled last week in the U.S. District Court (Southern Division of New York State).
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The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was suing Verizon and AT&T and argued that, in essence, when one’s cell phone rings, it creates a “public performance” of the copyrighted work, and THAT was copyright infringement.

Keep in mind that cell phone users already PAY royalty fees when they buy the ring tone.

The decision states, “ASCAP has not shown any infringement of its members’ rights by the playing of ringtones in public from Verizon’s customers’ telephones. The customers are not liable for copyright infringement, and neither is Verizon.”

For an article about the case and a link to the decision, see Wired’s piece here.

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