PokerNews.com has been hit with a $6 million lawsuit over copyright infringements. The plaintiffs claim that the parent company, iBus Media (owned by The Stars Group), used their music in hundreds of podcasts without permission.
Despite being warned, PokerNews continued to use the music without paying any compensation. Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:
“Accordingly, iBus Media is liable for its infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyright interests, either because it has directly engaged in infringing activities or because it is secondarily liable for infringing activities undertaken by others.”
Roc-A-Fella Records & Others Are Behind Lawsuit
IBus Media is being sued by several music labels, including Roc-A-Fella Records, Capitol Records, PolyGram Publishing, UMG Recordings, and Universal Music.
The group of plaintiffs note that iBus Media committed 315 acts of copyright infringement in 522 episodes of the “PokerNews Podcast.” The plaintiffs notified iBus Media of the issue in December 2015, but they continued using the music without permission.
Court documents state:
“IBus Media does not have any license or other authorization from Plaintiffs to reproduce, distribute, adapt or publicly perform in the United States any of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted musical works.”
Some of the artists used in the PokerNews Podcast include Billy Idol, Black Eyed Peas, and The Who. The plaintiffs are seeking $150,000 in statutory damages for each song that was illegally used, which would amount to $6 million if the lawsuit goes to court.
PokerStars Now Behind IBus Media
Last year, it was revealed that The Stars Group (TSG) — PokerStars’ parent company — has full ownership of iBus Media. The company was started by Antanas “Tony G” Gouga in 2002. IBus’ crown site, PokerNews.com, has become the biggest poker news outlet in the world.
PokerStars’ old parent company, Rational Group, began purchasing equity in iBus as early as 2010. Tony G eventually sold all of his holdings in the company, leaving TSG as the sole owner today. That said, they’re on the hook for the copyright infringements if iBus Media is found guilty.