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Sustainable farming, ambient music and litigation: the connection

Mail received by Groundswell Center for Food and Planning and Ecoagriculture Partners typically focuses on matters relevant to localized and sustainable farming.

Not lawsuits.

The correspondence-as-usual mail flow at those two entities was reportedly anything but customary earlier this year, though, owing to singular mailings they received from a music company.

The subject matter spotlighted in multiple letters that Yesh Music LLC states it sent to Groundswell Center and Ecoagriculture was decidedly not on farming. Rather, it underscored the record label’s concerns regarding the farming entities’ use of its copyrighted music.

Yesh Music representatives say that the company sent Groundswell Center and Ecoagriculture cease and desist letters on two occasions during the summer. Reportedly, those demands to stop playing the company’s copyrighted music absent a license to do so were met by “utter disregard.”

That response spiked tensions over the matter, resulting in a recently filed copyright infringement lawsuit by Yesh Music that seeks money damages for what the company stresses is “copied, synchronized and publicly displayed music without a license.”

The lawsuit targets Ecoagriculture and Cornell University as defendants, with Yesh recently dropping Groundswell Center from the litigation. The school is a named party owing to its paired collaboration with the two farming groups in advertisements touting sustainable farming that feature the unlicensed use of the record label’s owned music. Cornell has been a noted proponent of linked collaborative efforts to promote localized farming.

Yesh Music makes no comment on the linkage of its music with farm-tied activities. It simply stresses that it wants to be duly paid for any third-party use of its copyrighted product.

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