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Porn Company Wrongfully Used Madonna, Dr. Dre Songs on Sex Videos

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By Jason Beahm on December 14, 2010 5:54 AM

The recording industry has settled a suit in which it alleged a porn company was wrongfully using its songs in adult videos.

RK Netmedia, the self-proclaimed "World's Best Reality Porn Website," had been accused of copyright infringement for using copyrighted music in the company's porn productions. The settlement, for an undisclosed amount, means the parties have been able to come to a mutual agreement to avoid litigation. Neither party has commented on the case. RK Netmedia was sued in July in a California federal court.

As is often the case, the recording industry went for the jugular, seeking $150,000 in damages per infringement on hundreds porn videos.

RK Netmedia hires porn actors to do their thing at nightclubs and parties, to the beat of popular music, such as Katy Perry, Notorious B.I.G, Lil Wayne, Dr. Dre, Usher and Justin Timberlake, among others. While the actors are performing, they would also lip-sync along with the lyrics. Clever.

RK Netmedia, however, argued that they would be able to skate by on a popular copyright defense: fair use. Fair use is a common defense to a copyright infringement lawsuit. According the RK Netmeda, the music was merely incidental background noise, The Hollywood Reporter, reports.

Under the doctrine of "fair use," a portion of copyrighted work can be used without permission from the copyright owner. Under the fair use defense, unauthorized use of copyrighted material may be excusable. However, fair use is a legal gray area, as determining fair use is often difficult. Courts make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

It is hard to say whether a court would have found that fair use applied in this case. It certainly seems like RK Netmedia was trying to make a clever manipulation of the law in order to use popular music without paying royalties. However, considering the nature of the videos, there may be something to the argument that the music was merely incidental background noise.

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