NEWS29 May 2013

Arbitron files for copyright breach against broadcaster

Legal North America

US — Radio audience measurement company Arbitron has filed a complaint against broadcasting company Saga and its subsidiary, radio station owner Lakefront, for breach of copyright.

In papers submitted to the Delaware district court, Arbitron alleges that Lakefront had copied and distributed Arbitron’s audience reports without licence or authorisation from the measurement company for over two years.

The complaint claims that Lakefront had regularly obtained copies of Arbitron’s copyrighted audience estimates, which were reproduced and circulated among its personnel.

“These unauthorised copies were then used on a regular and systemic basis by Defendants for various purposes including setting advertising rates charged by Defendants’ radio stations and making programming decisions,” says Arbitron.

In addition, the estimates were used as a basis for determining employee compensation, according to the complaint.

“This system was so widespread, open and notorious at Defendants’ radio stations, that station personnel including senior management commonly referred to the system as the ‘Arbitron Bonus’,” the complaint alleges.

Arbitron has applied for a permanent injunction to prevent further distribution and use of its copyrighted works as well as damages “not less than $150,000 per act of infringement” plus costs and enhanced damages.