Mistrial Shouldn't Delay Vivendi/MP3.com Deal
A federal judge in New York has declared a mistrial in the penalty phase of TVT Records' copyright-infringement case against MP3.com, Billboard Bulletin reports. The ruling follows an April 6 jury verA federal judge in New York has declared a mistrial in the penalty phase of TVT Records' copyright-infringement case against MP3.com, Billboard Bulletin reports. The ruling follows an April 6 jury verdict that erroneously awarded TVT $290,000 in damages instead of an intended $3 million. U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff had earlier found that MP3.com, through its streaming music service, willfully infringed upon TVT's content.
"It is the best thing the judge could have done for us to the extent that we feel strongly that our claim was worth substantially more than $3 million," says TVT president Steven Gottlieb. A new damages trial is scheduled for Nov. 5; sources say a defendant will now be Vivendi Universal, which plans to acquire MP3.com.
Vivendi Universal says these new developments will have no impact on its plans to acquire the online music service provider. In a statement, Vivendi Universal says it does not see the ruling as an indicator of future litigation and believes it "has taken all measures it regards reasonable" regarding current and potential claims against MP3.com. TVT president Steven Gottlieb tells Bulletin he believes Vivendi shares his viewpoint that copyrights should be honored. "I certainly hope they share that point of view, since that is what they asserted when they were the plaintiffs," he says.