Publisher BMG has plunged itself into a copyright lawsuit with elements that are so bizarre it's hard to fathom what the company was thinking of. According to the complaint, BMG illegally used a song owned by religious group Watchtower in a for-profit Christmas album, featuring songs from other faiths, which are set to be sung in cathedrals. Needless to say, Jehovah's Witnesses are outraged.
Music publisher BMG is best known on these pages for its aggressive copyright infringement action against ISP Cox Communications in the United States.
After filing a lawsuit accusing the ISP of doing little to prevent its customers from pirating music time and again, the case went through a tortuous process that eventually led to a “substantial settlement.”
Given the nature of its business and a history of picking over the intricacies of copyright law, it was a surprise to see BMG named as a defendant in a US copyright lawsuit this week. Unusually, however, it’s not simply the copyright aspect of this case that makes it so unusual and interesting.
Singer Aled Jones Releases Album in November
Last month, Welsh singer Aled Jones, who shot to fame as a youngster in the 1980s, teamed up with BMG to release a new album titled ‘Blessings’. The album aims to be religiously inclusive by bundling songs associated with Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, and Quakers. But trying to appeal to everyone can have its pitfalls, especially where religion is concerned.
The problem lies in a song on the album called “Listen, Obey and Be Blessed”, a work owned by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the supervising body and publisher for the Jehovah’s Witness religious group. The appearance of this song on a commercial album immediately raised alarm bells among the religion’s followers who, through their teachings and knowledge of their faith, knew this track shouldn’t have been used in this manner.
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