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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
Record giant to share MP3 damages

My.MP3.com allows access a huge song database
Music company BMG has said it will share damages - estimated at $20m - from a lawsuit against MP3.com with all of its artists whose copyrights were infringed by the company.

BMG, the music and entertainment division of Bertelsmann, is home to such artists as Carlos Santana, Christine Aguilera and the Dave Matthews Band.

"BMG plans to share its MP3.com settlement with all of our infringed-upon artists, even if not stipulated by their agreements," said Bob Jamieson, president and chief executive officer, BMG North America.

BMG said it was also making an allocation to its music publishing arm, which will share the money with songwriters.

"We value our relationships with our artists and we feel this is the best course to take to foster those relationships," said Jamieson.

"It is our plan to begin crediting our artists' accounts just as soon as all of our recordings and artists have been identified," he added.

Legal battle

In January 2000, MP3.com began offering a service called My.MP3.com that allowed users to store music digitally and then access via any computer connected to the Internet.

The service included a database of over 80,000 albums copied by MP3.com, which the record labels and publishers argued violated copyright law.

In November 2000 MP3.com concluded a series of agreements with the five major music labels by reaching a deal with Universal, having already agreed a settlement with the National Music Publishers' Association.

Earlier this month songwriters Randy Newman, Tom Waits and Ann and Nancy Wilson of the rock band Heart decided to sue MP3.com for $40.5m (27m).

Despite previous agreements between MP3.com and the music industry, the songwriters alleged that the music website illegally gave listeners access to their songs through the My.Mp3.com service.

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See also:

15 Nov 00 | Entertainment
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MP3.com told to pay $250m
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MP3.com settles suit
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