Universal Music asks insurer to pay its part of $50M copyright infringement settlement

Michael Geist sez,

Earlier this year, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada) - Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada - settled the largest copyright class action lawsuit in Canadian history by agreeing to pay over $50 million to compensate for hundreds of thousands of infringing uses of sound recordings. While the record labels did not admit liability, the massive settlement spoke for itself.

The Canadian case has now settled, but Universal Music has filed its own lawsuit, this time against its insurer, who it expects to pay for the costs of the settlement. National Union Fire Insurance Company has refused, understandably taking the position that the liability reflects Universal Music's own use of copyright works for which it promised to set aside money for future payment.

Universal Music Sues Insurer To Pay For Its Copyright Infringement


  1. The music industry – possibly one of the only industries that makes the insurance industry look like paragons of virtue and honesty.

    Click all the way through to the Hollywood Reporter analysis that Geist links to.  The balls on UMG are astounding – I’ll bet that when National Union wrote up the policy for UMG they were assuming that they were insuring for copyright claims that UMG didn’t know about (artists sampling other artists into their work without informing UMG of it).  I don’t imagine they thought that they were writing a policy to let UMG rip off artists for years and then foist the costs off onto the insurance company.  Hopefully they were smart enough to write the policy so it doesn’t pay up in this case.

  2. Ah, sweet irony!  This is only the first round.  Using the ridiculous per-infringement fines put in place by the music industry themselves, their eventual liability could be as high as six billion dollars: Canadian!

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