A US federal judge ruled yesterday that music swapping resource MP3.com wilfully violated Universal Music Group's copyrighted works and ordered it to pay approximately $118m.
US District Judge Jed Rakoff said the fine, which equates to roughly $25,000 per CD infringed, was necessary to send a message to the internet community to discourage copyright infringement. MP3.com immediately said it would appeal the ruling.
Judge Rakoff said the fine could go up or down depending on the number of "qualifying CDs" infringed, which he said would be determined during the final phase of the trial in November.
Michael Robertson, chairman and chief executive of MP3.com, said: "We disagree with the court's decision and we look forward to taking our case to the Court of Appeals."
He added that everyone should have the right to listen to the music they buy, even if it is on the internet.
MP3.com was sued over My.MP3.com, a digital locker service which did not require users to upload their music on to a server. Users merely had to prove that they owned a copy of the music they wanted to upload.
Cary Sherman, senior vice president and general counsel of the Recording Industry Association of America, said the ruling "should send a message that there are consequences when a business recklessly disregards the copyright law".
Universal's record companies were the only plaintiff at the trial. The four other major record companies, Time Warner's Warner Brothers music group, Sony Music Entertainment, Bertelsmann AG's BMG and EMI Group, had previously reached settlements with MP3.com.
Hadrian Katz, a lawyer representing Universal, had urged Judge Rakoff to award the record company up to $450m, because MP3.com had copied 5000 to 10,000 of the company's CDs.
"Music is a media and the next infringement may be very different. It may be video or film or it may be something very different," he said.
IBM and Technical University of Munich team demonstrate how Shor's algorithm, which can't be cracked by conventional computers, can be solved quickly with quantum computing
Hubble Space Telescope finds superflares from young red dwarfs could strip away planetary atmosphere
Younger stars are 100 to 1,000 times more energetic than when they're older
Two of the big four supermarkets will use the system to control sales of restricted products
PUBG news and updates: November's Update #23 to bring new Skorpion pistol and changes to blue zone visibility
Genuinely useful side-arm coming to PUBG in Update #23