NEWS30 January 2013

Arbitron sues WKYC-TV for copyright infringement

Legal North America

US — Arbitron is suing a Gannet-owned Cleveland television and internet radio station for allegedly improperly using the audience measurement’s firm data reports in its sales and marketing packages that are sent out to potential advertisers.

Earlier this week, Arbitron filed the lawsuit against WKYC-TV/Cleveland, saying the TV station improperly claimed use of its ratings data in its media kit. Arbitron is claiming copyright infringement in the suit, saying that the station has stated that data involving Pandora audience listening estimates for nine of its internet radio stations came from Arbitron, when it actually did not.

In its suit, Arbitron claims that “WKYC-TV has wilfully and intentionally infringed Arbitron’s copyrights by copying and distributing copyrighted audience estimates obtained from the Arbitron reports and databases without authorisation from Arbitron. Moreover, WKYC-TV has infringed Arbitron’s trademarks by wilfully and intentionally using the Arbitron Marks in its promotional activities.”

Arbitron adds that the TV station’s media kit, which is used for WKYC’s sales presentations, “is part of an effort by WKYC-TV to sell advertising time on its station together with time on Pandora…WKYC has falsely represented that certain audience estimates were produced by Arbitron when, in fact, those audience estimates were not produced by Arbitron, causing confusion in the minds of the public.”

The company is asking for at least $150,000 for each incident mentioned in the lawsuit in addition to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Arbitron’s suit adds: “Unless the defendant is permanently enjoined from infringing the Arbitron Marks, Arbitron will continue to suffer irreparable harm.”

The lawsuit was filed in the US district court in Delaware. WKYC-TV has yet to formally respond. Last month Nielsen announced it had signed a definitive agreement to buy Arbitron for about $1.26bn.