Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood Publisher Sues MP3.com

Nashville holder of 2,500 song copyrights charges wholesale infringement by online music site.

A major Nashville song publisher of artists including Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood has sued online music site MP3.com, asking for an unspecified amount of money for "willful copyright infringement."

The Major Bob Music Publishing Group, which owns some 2,500 copyrights, charges MP3.com with repeated and deliberate infringement of its copyrights. The lawsuit, filed Monday (May 14) in United States District Court in New York, seeks at least $150,000 for each infraction.

The Major Bob Publishing Group — which consists of publishers Major Bob Music, Rio Bravo Music, Castle Bound Music, Dream Catcher Music and Moon Catcher Music — cites several recent lawsuits against MP3.com, including suits by Universal Music, MPL Communications and Peer International, Zomba Recording Corporation and TVT Records. It noted a District Court ruling that UMG Recordings was entitled to $25,000 for each CD whose copyrights were infringed upon.

The Major Bob lawsuits cites 219 recorded songs by name, including "The River" and dozens of other Garth Brooks songs, as well as songs recorded by Yearwood, LeAnn Rimes, Kenny Chesney, Tina Turner, Barry Manilow, Pam Tillis, Etta James, Lee Ann Womack and others.

The suit charges that MP3.com's "MyMP3.com," which purported to limit access to copyrighted music to listeners who owned a CD, was in fact an "illusory" safeguard.

A representative for Major Bob declined comment, as did MP3.com.

The singers and songwriters Tom Waits, Randy Newman and Ann and Nancy Wilson (of the group Heart) filed a similar lawsuit against MP3.com on May 8, seeking damages of $40 million.

(For complete coverage of online music, check out Sonicnet Music News' "Napster Watch.")