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Big content goes for the jugular

by on20 March 2014

Bankrupt MP3Tunes boss personally liable

Big content carried out an expensive court case against the bankrupt online music storage firm and won. Michael Robertson, the former MP3tunes chief executive was found personally liable Wednesday for infringing copyrights for sound recordings, compositions and cover art owned by record companies and music publishers once part of EMI.

The jurors also found MP3tunes was “willfully blind” to copyright infringement on its website, in what a lawyer for the recording companies suggested before the verdict would be the first ruling by a jury of its kind. Jurors will now decide how much in damages should be awarded after the verdict and an earlier ruling by the judge finding them liable on certain copyright claims.

MP3tunes came to be known for its so-called cloud music service that allowed users to store music in online lockers. EMI insisted in 2007 that the company's website and a related one called enabled the infringement of copyrights in sound recordings, musical compositions and cover art.

At trial, Robertson argued that he should not be held liable, and that the record companies themselves made free promotional copies of their music available online. When users abused the locker system, MP3tunes found out and shut them down, Sacks told jurors.

However, the jury largely sided with EMI although it did decide that he was not liable for MP3tunes' failure to remove files from users' online "lockers" the website provided users to store music.

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