'Over The Rainbow' composer sues Apple, Google and Amazon for piracy

The estate of Harold Arlen, who wrote classic songs like "Over the Rainbow" and "I've Got the World On a String," is taking several Silicon Valley giants to court.

His son told BBC News that he found more than 6,000 unauthorized copies of his songs on Google, Apple and Amazon's devices.

A 148-page filing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles claims that streaming services are inundated with bootleg copies of Arlen's songs, preventing his estate from collecting royalties.

The filing notes that a fan searching for Ethel Ennis' recording of Arlen's song "For Every Man, There Is a Woman," can find the official recording from the RCA Victor label on iTunes for $1.29. But another version is apparently available on the Stardust Records label – with the same cover art but the RCA logo edited out – for only $0.89.

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"It is hard to imagine that a person walking into Tower Records, off the street, with arms full of CDs and vinyl records and claiming to be the record label for Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald, could succeed in having that store sell their copies directly next to the same albums released by legendary record labels, Capitol, RCA, and Columbia, and at a lower price," Arlen's lawyers say in the filing.

They continue: "Yet, this exact practice occurs every day in the digital music business where there is... a complete willingness by the digital music stores and services to seek popular and iconic recordings from any source, legitimate or not, provided they participate in sharing the proceeds."

"Over the Rainbow," which won the Oscar for best song in 1939, was also named Song of the Century by the U.S. Recording Academy.

According to BBC News, some of the recordings cited by Arlen's lawyers are still protected by copyright in Europe.

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1939: American actor Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, holding Toto the dog for the film, 'The Wizard Of Oz,' directed by Victor Fleming.

1939: American actor Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, holding Toto the dog for the film, 'The Wizard Of Oz,' directed by Victor Fleming. ((Photo by MGM Studios/MGM Studios/Getty Images))

In the U.S., the copyright for sound recordings made after 1923 and before 1972 is typically 95 years. In the U.K. and Europe, copyright expires after 70 years.

The lawsuit seeks damage in the range of $4.5 million.

Fox News reached out to Google, Apple and Amazon for comment and will update the story as needed.

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