NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nine major record labels filed suit against an online music provider on Monday, accusing Project Playlist Inc of a "massive infringement" of their copyrights to the songs of artists such as U2 and Gwen Stefani.
Project Playlist (www.projectplaylist.com) enables its users to easily find, play and share music with others for free, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The website compiles a vast index of songs on the Internet and users can "quickly and easily search the index for recordings by their favorite artists. At the click of a mouse, Project Playlist instantly streams a digital performance of the selected recording to the user, who can listen to it on his or her computer or mobile device," the lawsuit said.
"Project Playlist also has begun optimizing its site for use on iPhones and iPods," the record companies said in the suit.
The Beverly Hills, California-based company, an affiliate of KR Capital Partners LLC, also allows its users to embed their personalized playlists on social network sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Blogger, the lawsuit said. The record companies said projectplaylist.com gets more than 600,000 daily users, nearly 9.5 million average page views per day.
"In short (Project Playlist's) entire business amounts to nothing more than a massive infringement" of the record companies' copyrights, the record companies said.
They are seeking to enjoin Project Playlist from continuing to offer its customers free music and are also seeking unspecified damages.
Attempts to reach Project Playlist for comment were unsuccessful.
The nine record labels are: Warner Music Group Corp's Atlantic Recording Corp, Elektra Entertainment Group Inc and Warner Bros. Records Inc; EMI Group Plc's Capitol Records LLC, Priority Records LLC and Virgin Records America Inc; and the Interscope Records, Motown Record Co LP and UMG Recordings Inc labels of Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group.
Reporting by Leslie Gevirtz; editing by Gerald E. McCormick