May 22, 2012
By: John Clark
MP3tunes, a revolutionary music locker service that was crippled by a lawsuit from EMI, a leading record company, has filed for bankruptcy, according to a recent report from CNET.
Sources say that MP3tunes.com, a file-sharing service that aimed to remove the influence of major recording labels from the music industry, is unable to keep its financial head above water thanks to its prolonged legal battle with EMI.
The troubles started in 2007, when EMI sued the website, accusing it of violating its copyrights. According to Michael Robertson, the founder of MP3tunes.com, the case still hasn’t gone to trial after four and a half years of litigation.
The legal costs for the litigation eventually crippled the young file-sharing company, and Robertson told sources that his business “has no choice but to” file for bankruptcy.
Another similar service, Veoh, which provided a forum for users to share videos, met a similar fate last year after it was sued by Universal Music Group, the largest of the four major music labels.
According to Robertson, “the labels engage in multiyear legal battles” in order to put smaller operations out of business. The alleged tactic seems to have been successful in this case.
Bankruptcy records reportedly show that MP3tunes.com has between $1 million and $10 million in debt, which led to the company’s untimely demise.
This is the second failed venture for Robertson, whose goal is to give music fans access to music without having to pay anything to the major labels. His first file-sharing website went live more than 15 years ago.
This site, MP3.com, eventually died, which gave rise to Robertson’s latest failed attempt. And Robertson claims that his websites were unfairly attacked by the labels because they were easy targets.
To bolster his claim, Robertson observes that both Google and Amazon operate locker services that allow users to store digital music on their servers.
According to Robertson, neither company has a license from the major record companies allowing them to offer this service.
And, in Robertson’s mind, if these Internet giants should be able to operate music locker services, smaller operations should be able to do so, as well.
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