Phone ringtones a “public performance”? EFF, AT&T say no

2 07 2009

It isn’t often that you find AT&T and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in agreement, but consensus has been reached on one matter: ASCAP’s demand that wireless companies pay it license fees for ringtones is, well, ridiculous.

On Wednesday EFF called the move “outlandish” and “a ploy to squeeze more money out of the mobile phone companies.” The advocacy group filed a friend of the court brief with the United States District Court for the Southern District New York this week, which is hearing the dispute between ASCAP, AT&T, and Verizon over whether the telcos have to pay the music licensing body royalties for wireless ringtones. Joining the amicus brief are Public Knowledge and the Center for Democracy and Technology. Meanwhile CTIA – The Wireless Association, to which the big telcos belong, has also filed an amicus brief in the case.

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