Pandora-BMG, Book Scanning, Yahoo: Intellectual Property

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Pandora Media Inc., the pioneering Internet radio service, reached a licensing agreement with rights management group BMG for hit songs of musicians and artists ranging from Beyonce to Frank Sinatra.

Pandora and the music industry have been fighting over royalties and licensing for several years, and this deal “ensured a royalty structure that works better for both of us,” Pandora Chief Financial Officer Mike Herring said at an investor conference hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York yesterday.

Last month, Pandora reached an agreement with Merlin, a music rights agency that represents more than 20,000 labels. Pandora said it would give Merlin access to data collected from the radio service’s more than 75 million monthly active users.

Pandora gains the rights to BMG’s catalogs of works from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and Broadcast Music Inc. In June, the U.S. Justice Department had said it would review decades-old agreements that govern songwriter royalties with those two groups.

BMG represents songwriters for popular musical acts including Beyonce, Jay Z and Sinatra as well as the rights of musicians such as Bruno Mars and John Legend. BMG is a unit of Guetersloh, Germany-based media company Bertelsmann SE.

The deal expands the audience for the songs while demonstrating the collaboration between the music industry and Pandora, Brian McAndrews, Pandora’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

EU Court Says Libraries Can Scan Books Without Permission

Libraries may scan copyrighted books without the permission of publishers to show them in digital form, the European Union’s top court ruled yesterday.

EU Court of Justice’s ruling involved a dispute in which German publisher Eugen Ulmer sought to prevent Technische Universitaet Darmstadt from digitizing books in its collection. Germany had sought a ruling on the application of EU law, but a German Tribunal will make the final ruling.

For more copyright news, click here.


Huawei Battles Strict Curbs on Patent Rights at EU Court

Huawei Technologies Co., China’s biggest maker of phone-network equipment, yesterday argued in the European Union that companies with key industry patents shouldn’t face strict curbs on their ability to sue to thwart rivals. The case may influence antitrust regulators’ intervention in the smartphone patent wars.

The EU judges were asked to advise a Dusseldorf, Germany court on how the EU antitrust probe into standard-essential patents may affect a dispute between Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese maker of phone equipment.

Huawei sued ZTE in Germany alleging it had infringed one of its patents. The EU Court of Justice was asked if ZTE can offer as a defense that Huawei refused a license on fair terms.

Huawei shouldn’t have to tolerate ZTE’s use of its patent without a license nor wait for a court ruling on the patent’s validity or infringement, the company’s lawyer, Stephan Barthelmess, said at the hearing. He argued that abuse exists only if a patent owner insists on an injunction even if the licensee makes a fair offer or offers to have fair terms set by a court or arbitrator.

ZTE argued that industry standards are crucial and “anyone deviating from that standard would have no chance,” its lawyer Martin Faehndrich said.

The two companies are arguing over licensing negotiations, with ZTE claiming it sought a license on fair terms and Huawei claiming it hadn’t coerced ZTE into unfair terms.

For more patent news, click here.


Angry Birds’ Rovio Sues Two for Selling Alleged Fake Goods

Rovio Entertainment Oy, the maker of the Angry Birds video game, brought suit yesterday in federal court in Manhattan accusing two companies of selling counterfeit products.

Rovio, based in Espoo, Finland, alleged federal copyright and trademark infringement, claiming that neither Allstar Vending, based in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada, nor Toy Amazon Corp., based in Monterey Park, California, was an authorized licensee.

Neither company immediately responded to e-mails sent after business hours requesting comment on the litigation.

The case is Rovio Entertainment Ltd. v. Allstar Vending Inc., 1:14-cv-07346, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more trademark news, click here.


Yahoo Faced $250,000-Day Fine for Not Giving U.S. Its User Data

Yahoo! Inc. said the U.S. government threatened to fine the company $250,000 a day if it refused to comply with requests for its Internet user data in national security investigations.

The disclosure came as Yahoo yesterday released more than 1,500 pages of “once-secret” documents stemming from its legal challenge in 2007-2008 to U.S. surveillance laws.

The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the courts that oversee government surveillance requests, decided to declassify the documents, Yahoo said in a blog post.

“We refused to comply with what we viewed as unconstitutional and overbroad surveillance and challenged the U.S. government’s authority,” Ron Bell, Yahoo’s general counsel, said in the post.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Rosen in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at Andrew Dunn, Peter Blumberg

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