Lawyers for Michael Robertson and the EMI companies are expected to
take until next Tuesday to figure out exactly how much money was
awarded in the complex, lengthy verdict issued by the federal jury
But a lawyer for EMI, Luke Platzer, estimated after the verdict was
read that it added up to roughly $41 million. The verdict included
$7.5 million in punitive damages.
The verdict came a week after the same jury found Robertson and the
bankrupt company liable on various copyright infringement claims.
The case marked the latest victory for the music industry in its
court battles with online content providers like Napster, Grokster
and LimeWire, which they have accused of illegally distributing
copyrighted recordings, resulting in lost revenue and profit.
Ira Sacks, a lawyer for Robertson, said he planned to appeal, saying
that many of the claims against his client were not sustainable.
Andrew Bart, a lawyer for the EMI recording labels, declined to
"Sony/ATV Music Publishing commends the jury on their careful
consideration of the facts and their decision in the MP3Tunes.com
case," Martin Bandier, chairman and chief executive of Sony/ATV
Music Publishing, said in a statement.
"The judicial process has worked in favor of the songwriter and
demonstrated a respect for the copyrights laws," he said. "We will
continue to vigorously pursue action against those who have
disregarded the copyright laws of the works entrusted in our care."
Founded in 2005 initially as a website selling independent
musicians' songs, San Diego-based MP3tunes came to be known for its
so-called cloud music service that allowed users to store music in
EMI, however, contended in a 2007 lawsuit that the MP3tunes website
and a related one called Sideload.com enabled the infringement of
copyrights in sound recordings, musical compositions and cover art.
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The lawsuit was regarded in some circles as a barometer for how
courts might view cloud-based music storage services.
In the trial, Robertson's lawyers contended MP3tunes had shut out
users who abused the locker system and that many of the songs had
been made available online for free by EMI as a promotion.
In the years since the lawsuit was filed, EMI was split up, with
Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group buying its recording music
business and a consortium led by Sony Corp acquiring its publishing
arm in 2012. MP3tunes filed for bankruptcy in May 2012.
The lawsuit was only the most recent run-in between the recording
industry and Robertson. In 1997 he founded MP3.com, a website that
allowed users to play music the company copied from thousands of CDs
it bought, as long as users could show they already owned the music.
A federal judge's ruling against MP3.com in 2000 led to a shutdown
of the service and more than $160 million in estimated payouts by
the company to the five major record labels and music publishers.
MP3.com was sold a year later to Vivendi Universal for about $372
million, with $120 million going to Robertson's family trust, he
testified at trial. The website is today owned by CBS Corp.
The case is Capital Records Inc et al v. MP3tunes LLC et al, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 07-09931.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond; editing by Dan Grebler and Kenneth
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