ordered to pay Universal $118 million
September 6, 2000 2:04 PM   Subscribe ordered to pay Universal $118 million for copying CDs to the Mymp3 service, a service designed for owners of those CDs ( made distribution agreements with the other record labels trying to sue). On the flip side, Yahoo scored a deal with the RIAA to let them webcast music. It's a wacky week in online music [via davenetics].
posted by mathowie (9 comments total)
Geeez, this is silly. I'd be all for such a judgement if had just posted all these CDs and let everyone download what they wanted without regard to who owned them. But they were only doing what amounted to letting you stream low-quality versions of CDs you had already proven that you owned!

Users couldn't share the music except by physically loaning a CD to another user, at which point, due to the easy availability of CD writers and MP3 encoders, it would be trivial to make a copy anyway.

But $25,000 a disc for letting individuals listen to another copy of a CD they already own? That's pretty ridiculous.
posted by daveadams at 2:21 PM on September 6, 2000

"That's pretty ridiculous". Yep. It's this sort of brain-dead hardball that makes me hate the recording industry. Not only that, but I'm sure Universal has been talking nonstop about "protecting the artists" -- when the only people getting a cut of this settlement is the UMG execs.
posted by aramaic at 2:34 PM on September 6, 2000

Actually, all the money is going to Seagram's, inventors of the evil "wine cooler"
posted by mathowie at 2:38 PM on September 6, 2000

Whats' wrong with wine coolers? I dump some Gallo in a 7-UP all time time.

Oh, you mean paying for one ...
posted by dhartung at 5:27 PM on September 6, 2000

That sux whats happenig to, i guess since napster got away they found someone else to pick on.
posted by Adler at 8:05 PM on September 6, 2000

Let's not forget that wasn't just offering this service out of the goodness of their hearts; they were making money off of it, via the ads they were selling on their site, and in the HTMLized mail they send to subscribers. We, the end users, weren't getting any profit out of this, but Michael Robertson sure was. That changes things a bit.

I liked this quote from the judge, that kind of sums up not just this case, but what most Net people like to think about, Napster, and the like: "[Internet companies] may have a misconception that, because their technology is somewhat novel, they are somehow immune from the ordinary applications of laws of the United States, including copyright law ... They need to understand that the law's domain knows no such limits.”
posted by aaron at 11:01 PM on September 6, 2000

Yup. SO many people like to think that the internet is a special place where no laws yet apply, and are visibly dismayed when it turns out otherwise.

The internet isn't a place.

It's a wire.
posted by dhartung at 9:56 AM on September 7, 2000

This is an example of a judge enforcing the letter of the law while completely ignoring the INTENT of the law. Copyright is meant to protect the rights of artists and creators, not Universal or any other company. Unless that $118 million is going straight to the artists who are distributed by Universal, this judgement is a perversion of true copyright protection. You can argue that Universal "bought the copyrights" to the artists' work, but what exactly is the legal precedent for a company being able to buy what is, in effect, a legal protection that was not intended for them?
posted by wiremommy at 2:58 PM on September 7, 2000

Judging from how long companies have been able to legally protect such copyrights, I'd guess the precedents are many and varied and go back many decades.
posted by aaron at 9:53 PM on September 7, 2000

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