posted Aug 29, 2000

Universal, MP3.com Continue Legal Battle Music & MP38/29/2000; 10:54:59 AM 'Confounding those who had expected a settlement by now, Universal Music Group took MP3.com (MPPP) back to federal district court in Manhattan on Monday to argue the damages portion of its copyright-infringement case. 'The trial, which is expected to last most of the week, focuses on whether MP3.com "willfully" infringed upon Universal's copyrights when it transferred music on Universal CDs onto its servers for use in its now-suspended My.MP3.com service. If the infringements were not willful, MP3.com would only have to pay Universal somewhere between $750 and $30,000 per CD. If they were willful, MP3.com would be liable for as much as $150,000 per CD. (MP3.com ultimately copied about 80,000 CDs onto its servers, but the parties have not yet determined what fraction came from Universal, the world's largest record group.)'The story of this lawsuit is already fascinating, and it hasn't even started yet!'Although MP3.com had told the Recording Industry Association of America nothing of its plans [to rip 40,000 CDs and store them on their servers] until then – so as not to tip off its business strategy to major labels or potential digital-music competitors – the company instantly invited the RIAA to inspect its premises to see what it was doing, with the hope, it maintains, of persuading the RIAA that its service was legal and harmless. 'RIAA representatives, including the organization's chief litigation counsel Steven Fabrizio and outside counsel Hadrian Katz, who is now Universal's lead trial counsel, took MP3.com up on its offer on Jan. 18. Three days later, the RIAA sued.'

 

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