Freeplay Music officially closes its $17 million copyright infringement case with CNN filed late last year.
On November 30, 2022, production music library Freeplay Music filed a $17 million copyright infringement lawsuit against CNN, alleging the unauthorized use of around 115 works used in over 280 network segments. After reaching a settlement in August, the two parties have now officially closed the legal battle.
Freeplay Music’s lawsuit claimed that CNN had used copyright protected tracks without a license on multiple network segments across CNN Philippines, CNN Indonesia, and CNN Chile. Specifically, 73 works in 169 videos aired in the Philippines, 40 works across 91 videos in Indonesia, and three works in 19 videos shown in Chile. Further, Freeplay said that CNN had re-aired the segments with the infringing content in the US and on CNN International.
“Anything less than the maximum statutory award of $150,000 per infringed work would not get the attention of these media goliaths that continue to commit widespread infringement of Freeplay Music’s intellectual property,” wrote Richard Busch, attorney for Freeplay Music.
“Trained by CNN, the International Parties, CNN International, and Great Big Story has made use of more than 115 copyrighted works of Freeplay Music as if FPM’s music library was their own personal cookie car in over 280 willfully infringing uses in segments over the last several years.”
“Los Angeles is home to the largest (Chilean and Filipino) population in the United States. CNN (…) specifically targets this large consumer base in Los Angeles with their content, as they are aware of this population’s interest in their news product and the benefit they will receive from their viewership,” writes the Central District Court of California. “(CNN and its subsidiaries) benefit financially from all of the above.”
In August, the two parties reached a “short-form settlement agreement,” the terms of which were not publicly revealed, promising that the long-form final agreement was expected to be filed in October. Freeplay’s settlement of the CNN case follows a similar infringement case settled in 2021 that the song library platform had filed against Ford in 2020.