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Have major record companies been illegally fixing the price of music downloads?

Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Upcoming Cases of Interest - Comments Off

Have the prices of music downloads, including those from Sony artist Beyonce, been illegally set too high?

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed an important lawsuit against four major record companies to move forward.  The case is Sony Music Entertainment v. Kevin Starr.   The plaintiffs, acting on behalf of all people who have downloaded music over the internet, have argued that Sony Music and other record companies such as Warner Music Group, Vivendi, and EMI, have colluded to fix the wholesale prices of online music at no lower than 70 ¢ per download, even when some smaller rivals were selling music for much lower.  Collusion is an illegal, secretive agreement between different companies to limit competition and set prices.  In 2008, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit believing that not enough evidence was presented for the case to be fully heard in court.  The U.S Court of Appeals in New York, however, subsequently ruled that sufficient evidence did exist and that the case should be heard.  The music companies petitioned the US Supreme Court, and on Monday, the Court refused without explanation to hear their case or overrule the U.S. Court of Appeals decision.  In other words, they have allowed the case to move forward in federal court.  Teenjury will keep you updated on this interesting case.

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