MP3tunes Founder Ordered to Pay $41 Million for Copyright Infringement

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MP3tunes founder Michael Robertson has been ordered to pay roughly $41 million for infringing copyrights linked to several artists, including The Beatles and Coldplay. The case was filed back in 2007 by EMI and took seven years to reach a conclusion. But even now the fight may not be over with the ex-MP3tunes boss considering an appeal.

The protracted legal battle between EMI and MP3tunes has come to an end, for now.

Last week Reuters reported that a jury had found MP3tunes and its associated search engine guilty of copyright infringement.

Sideload was one of the first sites that searched external file-hosting services such as RapidShare. Initially MP3tunes won a summary judgment in its favor, but that was overturned by last week’s ruling.

Yesterday the final verdict on the damages was handed down and, as expected, MP3tunes and its founder were ordered to pay millions. The exact amount isn’t absolutely clear, but EMI lawyer Luke Platzer estimates it to be around $41 million, including $7.5 million in punitive damages.

In total there were 2,100 copyrights at issue in the case, some of which were associated with major artists including The Beatles, Coldplay and David Bowie.

But even after seven years, the case isn’t over just yet. According to a Reuters report, Robertson’s lawyer has plans to file an appeal.

Founded in 2005, MP3tunes was one of the first “cyberlocker” sites, long before Dropbox and others came around. The site eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2012, in part due to the legal bills it had to pay.

“EMI spent an estimated $10 million dollars with multiple law firms to arm their attack against MP3tunes in an attempt to thwart unlicensed personal lockers. They know it’s difficult if not impossible for startups to fight long costly legal battles,” Robertson wrote at the time.


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