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Over The Rainbow composer sues Apple, Google and Amazon over piracy

Over The Rainbow composer sues Apple, Google and Amazon over piracy

The estate of Harold Arlen, who wrote Over The Rainbow and other American classics such as I've Got The World On A String and Get Happy, is suing some of the world's biggest tech companies, calling them 'the biggest piracy operations of all time'.

Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Pandora are under fire for allegedly reproducing, distributing, selling or streaming what the legal filing (opens in new tab) states is more than 6000 unauthorised recordings of Arlen's songs on their streaming services and/or download stores.

As such pirated copies are robbing the estate of royalties, Arlen's estate - reigned by his son Sam Arlen - is seeking damages of potentially millions of dollars in addition to the end of the copyright infringement.

The filing lists several 216 claims of alleged piracy, one of the examples being Amazon's hosting of two copies of John Towner Williams' 1958 I've Got The World On A String: one legitimate copy by Bethlehem Records for $9.49, and one bootleg, logo-less copy from Pickwick Group Limited that undercuts it, priced $6.99. 

An unauthorised copy of Benny Goodman's 1955 Get Happy also features in the Google Play and Amazon stores, priced less than the legitimate copy it sits alongside.

The lawsuit also points the finger at several distributors and record companies for allowing the tech platforms access to such bootlegs.

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Becky Roberts
Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her eight years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.