Judge denies motion to dismiss Arbitron suit


GavelU.S. District Court Judge Marcia Howard in Jacksonville, FL has rejected a motion by Renda Broadcasting to throw out a $650K lawsuit filed by Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) for alleged ratings copyright violations from unauthorized use of ratings information. Renda denied the claims, telling the court that Arbitron offered weak evidence to support its claims.

Renda had claimed that Arbitron’s “fails to set forth plausible grounds for relief for copyright infringement and contributory infringement”

It also alleged various deficiencies, including failure to identify the media agency that Renda allegedly got the numbers.

The judge disagreed and said Arbitron’s filings sufficiently stated a claim.

Arbitron first sued Renda Broadcasting in Jacksonville in June of last year. Renda hasn’t been a subscriber to Arbitron since 12/10.

In the suit, Arbitron alleges Renda/Jacksonville GM Bill Reese illegally obtained copies of the Arbitron numbers from a local ad agency between 5/11 and 12/12. Arbitron says Reese got the numbers via his work e-mail account and forwarded them to SM Charlie Jennings and PD Chuck Beck. The stations include Country WGNE-FM and AC WEJZ-FM. The suit asks for at least $150,000 per infringing act plus attorney’s fees and enhanced damages, along with injunctive relief and at least $500,000 for inducement of the agency to infringe on the copyright.

The suit says the station “illicitly obtained copies of the Arbitron Reports and Database… from an advertising agency in or near the Jacksonville, Florida area from a senior executive of which was a long time friend and business associate of GM Bill Reese.”