TVT Wins Infringement Case Against MP3.com

TVT Records has won its copyright infringement lawsuit against MP3.com, which was ordered last November to pay out more than $53 million in a settlement to the Universal Music Group (UMG) for illegal

TVT Records has won its copyright infringement lawsuit against MP3.com, which was ordered last November to pay out more than $53 million in a settlement to the Universal Music Group (UMG) for illegal use of copyrighted material through its My.MP3.com storage service.

Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York awarded TVT the right to damages for both the label and the artist who composed the infringed tracks. Damages will be awarded at a March 26 hearing.

The UMG judgement was sped along by the potential for weeks and perhaps months of legal wrangling over the final number of infringed recordings and arguments such as the validity of UMG's copyright registrations and whether or not they were illegally registered as works made for hire. The latter issue is expected to be debated at the March 26 hearing, with regard to the number of TVT's infringed works.

TVT president Steve Gottlieb tells Billboard.com that the decision "makes it clear that, whether you're a multi national [corporation] or not, your copyrights and your artist rights have value and must be acknowledged.

"We did not bring our suit until after there was a judgement against MP3.com saying, 'You're infringing. What you did was an infringement of copyright. Cease and desist.' And what did they do? They say, 'We're gonna take down all the majors and leave up everyone else.' So, we found that apart to the whole notion of fair play. We think it's extremely important that people working with creative content online understand that there are not two types of copyrights: multi-national corporate copyrights and other copyrights."

Calls seeking comment from MP3.com were unreturned at deadline.

In January, TVT became the first independent label to settle a copyright infringement suit with Napster and work with the company to further its membership-based business model. Under terms of the settlement, TVT will allow the master recordings and musical compositions it owns or controls to be used for file sharing on the new Napster service.

In addition, Gottlieb has agreed to act as an advisor to Napster, and the label will promote further industry acceptance of the model.