Thanks to a judgement in its favor filed two days ago (Feb. 24) by Judge Marcia G. Cooke of Miami's Federal Court, the RIAA can now add mp3skull.com and mp3skull.us to its ever-expanding graveyard of music piracy websites and properties that includes Grooveshark, LimeWire, Sharebeast, RockDizFile and Aurous.
The record industry trade association sued the site, based in Russia though targeted towards Western users, in April of last year, asserting that its music pirating activity was "enormous."
In her judgement on the case, in which defendant Monica Vasilenko -- identified via a domain registration being "briefly" made public, according to the complaint -- failed to appear following a summons or respond to the initial complaint, Judge Cooke awarded the RIAA ownership of mp3skull's web domains to the trade body and enjoins any further use of it, statutory damages of $22.2 million and attorney's fees. However, since the defendant can't be located, it seems unlikely that the RIAA will recover its damages.
The finding against the pirate site comes just a few weeks ahead of the deadline for renewal of the Center for Copyright Information's "Memorandum of Understanding," first ratified in 2011 (and implemented in 2013) by a wide collection of stakeholders in both media and technology and commonly known as the "six-strikes rule." That initial agreement took years to negotiate and is meant as a deterrent to casual infringement; an exclamatory sign rather than a barbed wire fence.