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MP3tunes and former CEO found liable in long-standing music copyright infringement cases

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2014 4:14

MP3tunes and former CEO found liable in long-standing music copyright infringement cases

Michael Robertson, the former CEO of now-defunct digital music locker MP3tunes, has been found liable for copyright infringement in the long-standing case brought by the record labels, namely EMI Group.
In addition, MP3tunes was found to be willfully blind to copyright infringement on its site, allowing unauthorized music to be distributed and saved to cloud lockers. MP3tunes also sold independent music without DRM starting in 2005.

Following the verdict, jurors will now decide on damages for all of the copyright claims.

EMI filed the suit in 2007, claiming the company's services "enabled infringement of copyrights in sound recordings, musical compositions and cover art." There were over 2100 copyrights abused, said EMI. During the trial, Robertson's lawyers argued he should not be held liable, and that the record companies had made most of the music available online for free as promotional copies.

If users were abusing the locker system, MP3tunes shut down those accounts, argued the lawyer. It appears, the jury did not agree. MP3tunes declared bankruptcy in 2012, so it is unclear what kind of damages will ever make it to the coffers at EMI, which has also since been broken up and acquired by multiple parties.

Robertson was no rookie when it came to litigation from the music industry. He started in 1997 which allowed users to play hundreds of thousands of tracks as long as they could "prove" they already owned the CDs. The site was shut down by a federal ruling and the company had to pay over $100 million in damages. The site was then sold to Vivendi and is now run by CBS.

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