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Robin Williams estate sues Pandora for copyright infringement


Recognised as two of the greatest comedians of American history, Robin Williams and George Carlin still hold a great amount of influence in contemporary society despite having passed away earlier in the 21st century. Now, the estates of both these comedians have filed a lawsuit against the streaming service Pandora, claiming they have been freely using the late comedians content without the proper licensing. 

Filing the suit for copyright infringement on Monday, February 7th, the estates of both comedians are claiming that the works of their respective late family members “continue to be exploited, performed, broadcast, and streamed” without any permission. Continuing, the official suit from the Carlin estate reads: “While Carlin would have been thrilled for his works to live on through valid licenses and payments, he would have seven dirty words to say about Pandora’s actions and willful copyright infringement, no doubt”.

Originally reported by The Rolling Stone, it is thought that the Williams’ estate is looking for $4.1million in damages, with the Carlin family looking to settle at more than double the amount with $8.4million. The content in question that is being unlawfully used is Robin Williams’ debut album Reality… What A Concept as well as his iconic standup special An Evening At The Met. For Carlin, a great number of his albums are thought to have been taken without permission, including You Are All Diseased, Class Clown and Classic Gold. 

Both estates have accused Pandora of gaining “listeners, subscribers and market share with full knowledge it did not have licenses,” without offering “a fraction of a penny” in compensation for the work of their late family members. This isn’t the first time Pandora has been accused of such similar crimes, with the stand-up comedian Ron White having also come up against the streaming giant for taking his intellectual property.

Take a look at a clip from Robin Williams’ famous routine from An Evening At The Met, below.