Judge limits damages in MP3.com case

Rakoff rules $ collectible on per-album, not song, basis

New York Federal Court Judge Jed Rakoff ruled Monday that any damages in the legal battle between MP3.com and the two music congloms that have yet to reach a settlement agreement with the Netco — Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group — would be calculated on a per-album rather than a per-song basis.

The labels had sought $150,000 for every song that had been infringed, which could have placed damages in the billions of dollars.

The La Jolla-based MP3 came under legal fire from the Recording Industry Assn. of America when it created a database of 80,000 albums without permission from the diskeries that own the copyrights. After this database was declared illegal (Daily Variety, May 1), multimillion-dollar settlements were reached with the Warner Music Group, BMG Entertainment and — just last week — the EMI Group.

Rakoff also ruled that the Netco didn’t have to pay damages on any CDs whose copyright registration wasn’t filed with MP3 by Aug. 7, saying that such documents should have been filed during the discovery phase of the suit.

These are but small victories, considering that MP3 has to settle with a host of music publishers, the Harry Fox Agency and innumerable indie labels.

Furthermore, the presence of “most favored nations” clauses in the existing settlements requires MP3 to pay each diskery at the same rates, regardless of when they cut the deals.

Jury phase of the trial, which will determine whether MP3 was guilty of “willful infringement” when it created the database, is set for Aug. 28.

More Digital

  • Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]


    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content