Four of the world's biggest recording companies have sued the producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, accusing them of using songs without permission.
On the popular daytime programme, which averages about 3 million viewers daily, newly named American Idol judge and show host DeGeneres dances to popular tunes selected by a DJ.
The programme is produced and distributed by various divisions of Time Warner Inc. While DeGeneres is not named specifically, the suit names her company, A Very Good Production.
The lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages, said The Ellen DeGeneres Show has used more than 1,000 songs without permission.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee, the labels said that when they asked why licences were not obtained for use of the songs, representatives for the show said they "did not roll that way."
"As sophisticated consumers of music, defendants knew fully well that, regardless of the way they rolled, under the Copyright Act ... they needed a license to use the sound recordings lawfully," the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit was filed by Warner Music Group Corp, Sony Corp's Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, and EMI Group.
In a statement, Warner Bros said it had been working with the labels for "many months" to resolve the issue of how songs are used on the show, "after years of a good working relationship between the parties."
"It is unfortunate that the record labels have resorted to filing a suit over a straightforward business dispute which the show has always been prepared, and remains willing, to resolve on amicable and reasonable terms," Warner Bros said.
First of all I have to say I am extremely surprised that Warner Bros. (part of the giant that is Time Warner Inc.) would miss something as hugely important as copyright.
On the other hand I think the fact that the show does name the artist, song and label each time they play one will definitely work in their favour.
And actually I would have thought the artists would be grateful to the show for doing them a favour and promoting their material (but I guess this is more of a case of greedy labels again).
And while we're on the subject why exactly are they filing this lawsuit now? (the show has been on for 6 years after all). During that time the show has played countless songs.
I don't know much about the waiting periods for copyright infringement lawsuits, but I'm fairly certain it doesn't take 6 years to file.
So there's gotta be something more going on here.
I'm not too worried about it though, after all this is Time Warner it's not like they can't afford a satisfactory settlement.