Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 10:50 UK

Labels sue Ellen show over songs

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres has fronted her own show since 2003

Producers of the Ellen DeGeneres Show are being sued by some of the world's biggest record companies who accuse them of using songs without permission.

Labels including Sony, Universal and EMI claim the daytime show has used more than 1,000 songs without licences.

Many of the songs were allegedly played during a segment where DeGeneres dances through the audience.

A spokesman for the show said it had been working to resolve the issue on "amicable and reasonable terms".

In legal papers filed in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee, the record 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 licence to use the sound recordings lawfully," the legal claim stated.

'Music enthusiast'

It said the daytime talk show had used copyrighted music without permission since it began in 2003 including "recordings by virtually every major current artist of popular music".

It also said the programme routinely used some of the most popular songs of the day, which the record labels do not license for daytime television at any price.

Songs cited in the legal papers included Michael Jackson's Thriller, The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations and Will Smith's Gettin' Jiggy Wit It.

The record companies have not specified the amount they are seeking in damages.

Scott Rowe, a spokesman for Telepictures Productions which makes the show, said the issue did not involve DeGeneres and described her as "a tremendous music enthusiast and advocate".

The star was named as the new American Idol judge on Thursday, replacing out-going singer Paula Abdul.

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