Zappa's Wife Sues Emusic

Suit alleges that Zappa tunes were offered as unauthorized downloads

March 13, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Frank Zappa's widow filed a copyright infringement suit against music download retailer Emusic on March 9th in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Gail Zappa is seeking more than $5 million in damages for alleged copyright violation of thirty-seven of her late husband's songs.

The suit alleges that the Web retailer had unlawfully made Zappa songs available for sale on its site as far back as January 1, 1999. Gail Zappa, who was married to the composer for twenty-eight years before his death from prostate cancer in 1993, not only ran his business, but also owns the rights to her husband's material, which is currently licensed for distribution by Rykodisc.

Gail Zappa is seeking a permanent injunction against Emusic to prevent the company from making the songs available, as well as damages of $150,000 per infringement and attorney fees.

Emusic is currently offering only five Zappa recordings, all collaborations with composer John Cage, for $.99 per download. None of Frank Zappa's other material is currently available.

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