At a time when most music artists are embracing MySpace as an extension of their marketing plan, Jay-Z wasn’t too delighted that MySpace served its site members a sneak preview of his entire new album last week. Kingdom Come, the artist’s first album, since retiring three years ago, went on sale yesterday. On Friday, Jay-Z’s record label, Universal Music Group, filed its lawsuit against MySpace.
Leading up to the album’s release, there has been a heavy marketing push, including an exclusive sneak preview on Clear Channel’s site. Apparently, the MySpace leak wasn’t part of that plan.
Universal, fearing widespread illegal downloading of one of it’s biggest artists’ comeback album, decided to sue MySpace and its parent company News Corp. for $150,000, in federal court in Los Angeles. The copyright infringement is for every unauthorized Universal song and video that MySpace has on its servers, and seeks an injunction from future infringement. According to MTV.com, the UMG claim states:
“UMG also claims that MySpace — which it referred to in the suit as a “vast virtual warehouse” of pirated material — is aware that its many members have posted illegal bootleg videos and pirated recordings of Universal acts; among those cited are works by U2, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, and the Killers.”
Coincidentally, around the same time the suit was filed, MySpace announced plans to launch a tool that will make removal of copyrighted content easier and faster for its owners. Copyright holders will be able to digitally flag the unauthorized content, and it would be deleted from MySpace. Last month, MySpace also announced plans to utilize fingerprinting technology that would block the posting of unauthorized music on the site.
UMG and MySpace had been negotiating a deal for News Corp to pay a licensing fee for Universal content that has appeared on MySpace, but licensing talks between Universal and MySpace had reached a dead end recently, reportedly. The copyright infringement claim will not affect a deal that Universal’s Interscope Records has with MySpace to distribute albums from its artists.