posted Sep 06, 2000

Ruling against MP3.com could cost $118 million Music & MP39/6/2000; 4:13:04 PM 'A federal judge today found that MP3.com willfully infringed the copyrights of Seagram's Universal Music Group, opening the company to enormous potential damages in one of the first trials to address the legal boundaries of Internet music distribution.'I'll just say this: That MP3.com can be found in copyright violation is OK. But I don't buy for one second that it was a willful violation when there was nobody on the planet who knew either way.To willfully violate the law, one must know that what one is doing is wrong. Frankly, the copyright situation being what it is on the web, "just do it and let the courts sort it out" is the only way to do business. If somebody else tries the exact same stunt tommorow, that would be "willful violation". In the meantime, this should be seen as testing the waters.(Had the members of the MPAA tried the exact same thing, I bet it would not be found "willful", even if it was a violation. Not that they'd do something like this.)(Perhaps the legal standard for 'willful' is different; I'm not a lawyer and I'm assuming there's some component of "must know the action is wrong". Still, the Findlaw dictionary defines it as "not accidental: done deliberately or knowingly and often in conscious violation or disregard of the law, duty, or the rights of others".)

 

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