Hollywood Docket: Class Action Lawsuit Targets Pandora

Pandora Generic Image - Computer - 2011
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Pandora, the web service that allows users to customize radio stations based on listening preferences, is facing a class action lawsuit in Michigan.

Peter Deacon, a Michigan resident, is leading the lawsuit with claims that Pandora is breaching customer privacy by making users' profile pages, including favorite songs and listener history, publicly available and searchable online. Additionally, the class action asserts that Pandora is violating privacy by integrating users' listening records with their Facebook accounts.

The openness is claimed to be a violation of Michigan's Video Rental Privacy Act and Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiffs are demanding statutory damages of $5,000 per person.

The laws governing the disclosure of entertainment habits recently compelled Netflix, which is also facing class actions on similar charges, to lobby lawmakers for changes.

In other entertainment law news:

  • A photographer is suing Viacom and VH1 for allegedly misappropriating photographs of the iconic rap group N.W.A. in a documentary. Howard Rosenberg claims that he was contacted in 2008 by co-defendant Creature Films about using his old photos, and he declined. The photos appear to have been licensed through a photo stock agency called Shooting Star Agency, which Rosenberg says only had rights over a small portion of his work.
  • A federal judge is allowing a Philadelphia concertgoer who was injured by the stage-diving lead singer of the band, Fishbone, to pursue punitive damages against the band's manager and the concert venue. The judge noted that the band had a well-known history of stage-diving, which may raise questions about whether the risk could have been prevented.
  • Bob Dylan, copyright infringer? According to the New York Times, the freewheeling artistic style of Dylan is drawing scrutiny as some have noted that an exhibit of the singer's paintings bear resemblance to some well-known photographs.