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Lyrics website owes music publishers $6.6 million because apparently posting lyrics is illegal

A California district court has ruled that it's definitely still not okay to steal from people in the music industry, even if they're just lowly music publishers. Judge George H. Wu served LiveUniverse.com and its owner, MySpace co-founder Brad Greenspan, with a $6.6 million default judgment on Tuesday for posting the lyrics to 528 songs, including TLC's "Waterfalls," without permission on multiple websites owned by the company. This should come as a surprise to music consumers because who knew that posting lyrics online was illegal? Certainly not the hundreds of sites that do it regularly.

Ross Charap, a lawyer representing the publishers, told Ars Technica on Thursday that the suit was filed in order to persuade more sites to adhere to licensing requirements. And although the plaintiffs—Peermusic, Bug Music, and Warner Chappell Music—originally hoped to "persuade" potential violators by winning $100,000 per song from Greenspan, the judge reduced the punishment to $12,500 to avoid disproportionate damages.

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