GMR Sues Entravision For Copyright Infringement


LOS ANGELES — The Irving Azoff-founded music rights organization “at the forefront of music rights management, leading the field in client services, technology, and rights advocacy” that has caused mild headaches for many radio broadcasting companies has launched a full-fledged legal fight against one of the biggest Hispanic media companies in the U.S.

Global Music Rights (GMR) has filed suit against Entravision Communications on allegations of copyright infringement.

And, it appears centered on stations that played English-language Classic Rock tunes.

In a 15-page complaint filed Thursday (10/3) in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Westwood-based GMR  — represented by a team of O’Melveny & Myers attorneys including Daniel Petrocelli —  claims “[s]ome of Entravision’s radio stations perform Global Music Rights Compositions and, since at least 2017, these Entravision stations have performed Global Music Rights Compositions without obtaining a license in violation of copyright laws.”

GMR specifically mentions English-language Rocker KFRQ-FM in Harlingen, Tex.; Classic Rocker KOFX-FM in El Paso; Hot AC KVLY-FM “107.9 MIX FM” in McAllen-Brownsville; and Los Angeles stations KDLD-FM “Súper Estrella Clásica” and simulcast KLYY-FM/KSSE-FM “José”.

Interestingly, two Denver stations are also listed “during the relevant period in this case,” which is listed as starting Jan. 1, 2017: KXKL-FM and KIMN-FM.

These stations were acquired by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment from Wilks Broadcasting in October 2015 as part of a $54 million acquisition.

The radio stations that Entravision owns and operates in Denver include KXPK-FM “Radio Tricolor”, KJMN-FM “La Suavecita” and “Súper Estrella” network member KMXA-AM.

Even with the Denver stations that GMR reviewed in question, the case against Entravision could wind up to be costly — particularly in regard to the English-language rockers in Texas, and not for the Los Angeles properties.

As GMR sees it, “Beginning as late as January 1, 2017 (and possibly earlier) and
continuing through the present, radio stations owned by Entravision … performed publicly these Global Music Rights Compositions more than 10,000 times.”

At issue: a valid GMR license for Entravision’s stations, which GMR says is nonexistent.

GMR also says the airplay came in flagrant disregard of the lack of a licensee agreement.

“Entravision made a willful, calculated, and strategic decision not to obtain prior authorization to perform publicly the Global Music Rights Compositions and hope that Global Music Rights would not find out or would choose not to enforce its rights,” the O’Melveny & Myers attorneys assert.

In fact, they say that “on multiple occasions between January 2017 and March 2019, Global Music Rights offered Entravision the opportunity to license Global Music Rights Compositions for public performance and warned Entravision that its stations were not authorized to perform publicly the Global Music Rights Compositions unless Entravision secured and paid for a license.”

The songs Entravision played without a valid GMR license, included in the court filing, represent English-language rock songs. As such, any airplay in Los Angeles on its radio stations seems to be an impossibility.

That’s because they include a host of Bob Seger tunes, as well as those for Bruce Springsteen, Eagles, Don Henley, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Foreigner, Pete Townsend, The Who, and the Steve Miller Band. Even classic Top 40 hits such as “You Really Got A Hold On Me” by The Miracles and “My Guy” by Mary Wells on the alleged infringement list.

In January 2017, a nine-month license was offered to Entravision, they say.

What happened? “Entravision did not respond, did not submit a signed license, and did not pay Global Music Rights any money,” the lawyers for GMR claim.

Follow-up communication from GMR was sent to Entravision in March 2017, and again in August 2017, February 2018, August 2018, and in March 2019. There was no response, GMR’s attorneys say, to any of these offers.

What does GMR seek as a remedial solution? Money.

“As a direct and proximate result of Entravision’s willful and infringing uses of the Global Music Rights Compositions, Global Music Rights is entitled to maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each copyright infringed, or actual damages and Entravision’s profits in amounts to be proven at trial, and/or such other amount as may be proper under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c).”

A trial by jury and reimbursement for GMR’s legal expenses is also requested.

Representatives for GMR and for Entravision did not respond to RBR+TVBR‘s respective requests for comment by Thursday’s editorial deadline of 1:15pm Pacific.

Reporting by Adam R Jacobson in Delray Beach, Fla., with correspondence from Danielle Tappis in Westwood.