BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Market Data 
Economy 
Companies 
E-Commerce 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
MP3.com told to pay $250m

A federal judge in the United States has found the music-sharing web site MP3.com guilty of copyright violations and ordered the firm to pay up to $250m to record company Universal Music Group.

District Judge Jed Rakoff said it was necessary to send a message to the internet community to deter copyright infringement.

Before the judgement, a lawyer for MP3.com had called any fine above $5m a virtual "death sentence" for the company.

Universal, the world's largest record company, had accused MP3.com of copying 5,000 to 10,000 of its records and storing them in the digitial and compressed MP3 format on its website. From there users could freely download the music.

The exact size of the fine will be determined at a later hearing, where Universal and MP3 will argue over which copyrighted records were actually in the website's database.

Settlements

In April, US District Judge Jed Rakoff had ruled that the My.MP3.com database of 80,000 albums had broken copyright law.

MP3.com then settled with most giants of the recording industry, Warner Bros., Sony Music Entertainment, Bertelsmann's BMG, and EMI.

Universal, however, insisted on a trial, and now has won payments of $25,000 per compact disc.

Judge Rakoff said he could have awarded as much as $150,000 per CD, but chose a considerably smaller amount because MP3.com had acted more responsibly than other web startups.

Universal had urged a stiff penalty, saying that if music copyright infringements were allowed, then video and books might follow.

MP3.com said it would appeal against the decision. Michael Rhodes, a lawyer representing the firm, said: ""We built technology that lets people listen to their own CD collections."

He said Universal did not deserve a "windfall" and argued there was "not one iota of evidence that they even lost a penny".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

01 Sep 00 | Sci/Tech
Ready, Aimster, Swap
31 Aug 00 | Business
Napster ban for students
28 Jul 00 | Business
MP3.com settles with EMI
22 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
MP3.com agrees Sony damages
18 Jul 00 | Entertainment
MP3 fans target politicians
09 Jun 00 | Business
MP3.com settles suit
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories