Hollywood Docket: Music Labels vs. Grooveshark; FCC Targets Loud Commercials; Ryan Gosling Law School

Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group are primed to join the legal battle against Grooveshark over hundreds of thousands of copyrighted songs that were allegedly uploaded illicitly to the music streaming service.

Last month, UMG filed a new lawsuit against Escape Media Group, the owner of Grooveshark, after reviewing the company's internal documents that purportedly revealed that Grooveshark's top executives were among those who were posting allegedly copyright-infringing material. The lawsuit took issue with the ineffectiveness of takedown notices in getting Grooveshark to remove flagged songs.

Now, the New York Times reports that two more of the four major labels are prepared to join the effort. The paper says that Sony's and Warners' suit could be filed as soon as today.

If Grooveshark loses the lawsuit, penalties could rise as high as $150,000 per work for willful infringement.

In other entertainment & media law news:

  • A federal appeals court has granted temporary reprieve for Verizon Communications from having to fork over as much as $250 million in payments to ActiveVideo for infringing patents in its FIOS Video-on-Demand service. The decision to stay the payments comes after a ruling earlier in a week by a federal court that directed Verizon to make the first monthly payment. On November 23, the federal judge issued a permanent injunction ordering Verizon to stop using ActiveVideo's patents after May 23, 2012. Facing the threat that its VOD service could go dark, Verizon has been working with vendors to implement changes as it pursues an appeal.
  • On Wednesday, a New York judge upheld a jury verdict that determined the Walt Disney Co. had properly collected $56 million from Dish Network Corp. for rights to carry four HD channels, including ESPNews. Dish argued that its contracts covered HD versions of these channels, but a jury in October agreed with Disney's contention that extra fees applied.
  • A California jury has ordered Inferno International to pay Cinezeta $3.4 million in a dispute over a guarantee payment for the film Just Friends starring Ryan Reynolds. The jury award follows a partial summary judgment ruling against Inferno Distribution last month in an interesting case about what happens when a producer absconds with film tax credits. One of the leftover issues after the judge's ruling was whether Inferno International was merely an alter ego of Inferno Distribution, so the jury's award will make it easier for Cinezeta to collect from the new company. 
  • What's that? The FCC has passed regulations requiring broadcasters to maintain constant volume levels? No more loud commercials? What? Say that again.
  • According to the arbiter of truth, Wikipedia, the oldest law school in the United States is the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at Jon Stewart's alma mater. The newest? That would be "Law School Ryan Gosling," although we're not sure whether graduates walk away with a Juris Doctor degree or diploma with Ryan Gosling's face on it. (via Above The Law)