Universal paid $20m in settlement from in-flight copyright lawsuit

Universal Music Group is $20m richer today, thanks to a settlement from a two-year copyright infringement case.

The major has accepted a settlement package from in-flight entertainment provider Global Eagle that could be worth more than $40m in total.

Universal launched a lawsuit against Global Eagle in May 2014, alleging that 4,500 of its tracks – including those from The Beatles and Taylor Swift – had been infringed via the on-demand music platform available on American Airlines flights.

A federal judge ruled earlier this year that one of Global Eagle’s subsidiaries willfully took payment from airlines for copyright licenses without having finalized a deal with Universal.

The next step would have been a potentially painful damages trial for Global Eagle – but it’s opted for a different outcome.

According to an SEC filing posted last week (August 9), Global Eagle agreed to pay Universal $15m in cash within two days, in addition to 1,360,544 shares of its common stock.

That stock is currently valued at $9.04 per share – meaning those 1.36m shares are worth around $12.3m.

Global Eagle has also agreed to pass a further cash payment of $5m to UMG before March 31 next year.

And there could also be an additional stock payment: if Global Eagle’s share price tops $10 on the NASDAQ, UMG gets 500,000 extra shares of common stock.

If its share price exceeds $12, UMG will receive an additional 400,000 shares of common stock.

All in all, that means Universal stands to gain somewhere between $30m and $45m from the settlement.

You can read the full 8K SEC filing through here.Music Business Worldwide

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