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United States of America Vs Sony BMG - Research Paper Example

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Corporate Litigation: United States of America Vs Sony BMG
This paper presents an analytical discussion of a civil suit against by Sony BMG by the United States Government on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission…
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United States of America Vs Sony BMG
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Download file to see previous pages The Issue This case is about the violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by Sony BMG Music Entertainment in 2008. Sony Corporation of America is a company whose Sony BMG subsidiary represents musical entertainers who are popular even with underage children. COPPA aims at protecting the children’s privacy against misuse of their private information by the online community.
The act was passed on 21st April, 2000 and provides legal guidelines for companies or organizations which provide Internet services through websites. This act covers the privacy of children who fall below the age of thirteen years.1
The legal provision of the act to the online service providers is that consent must be obtained from the parents of children under the age of thirteen before collecting personal information about the children. Moreover, the parents have to be informed when an online service provider needs to use or reveal personal information of the children. 2 In 2008, Sony BMG Music Entertainment violated the provision of COPPA by collecting, using and disclosing information of children below thirteen without the permission of their parents. This led to the legal suit against the company by the USA on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission. ...
The information collected from the underage children by the company affected more than 30 000 of the young people within its 196 websites. The ethical and legal issue in this case is that the company collected the information with full knowledge that it was obtained from underage children. This demonstrates that the company knowingly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The legal issue was worsened by the failure of the company to reveal that it intended to keep the information. Additionally, the company did not disclose how the collected information was to be used. Applicable Law The law that was violated by the company is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The Federal Trade Commission’s implementing rule was also violated by Sony BMG which made the commission to be the Civil Penalty Complainant. The Federal Trade Commission on 5th April, 2010 requested for opinions of the public on the use of private information by the online community in relation to the changes and advancement in technology. This was through the Commission’s publication in the Federal Register.3 The public opinion on the matter was received from members of the public, technologists, advocacy groups, representatives of various industries and academicians. The information obtained from the public was useful in clarifying and defining various terms within the COPPA, such as Child, Website and Private Information. The considerations of the opinions of the public led to the definition of a child as an individual below the age of thirteen. These considerations were based on expert opinion on the ability of a child to make right judgments on the information provided to the online service providers. The assessment of a child’s level of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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