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Vivendi, Time Warner End ‘Ellen’ Music Copyright Suit

Vivendi SA’s music labels and Time Warner Inc. ended a lawsuit that alleged Time Warner played the labels’ songs without permission while producing Ellen DeGeneres’s television talk show.

The companies filed a joint notice yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles to end the copyright infringement case, which was filed in March. The online docket for the case states it was “terminated” yesterday. No reason was given.

Interscope Records, Motown Record Co. and UMG Recordings said in the suit that the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” played hundreds of their recordings without obtaining permission or paying for licenses. The songs included “Superfreak” by Rick James and “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas, according to the labels, part of Paris-based Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record company.

The producers, including New York-based Time Warner’s Warner Bros. Television, said they had an “implied” license because the labels took no action for almost six years. The defendants also said the labels benefited when their artists appeared on the show.

Jeffrey Goldman, a lawyer for Interscope, didn’t return messages for comment. Scott Rowe, a spokesman for Warner Bros. Television, said the company declined to comment.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson on Aug. 30 denied a request by both sides to halt the case for arbitration and said it would proceed to trial on Nov. 30.

The case is Interscope Records v. Time Warner Inc., 10-1662, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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