Digital Music

Michael Robertson Found Liable In MP3tunes EMI Copyright Case

image from www.hypebot.comMichael Robertson, the founder and former CEO of bankrupt digital music storage locker MP3tunes was found liable Wednesday for infringing on recordings, copyrights and cover art owned by a group of companies once owned by EMI. The federal jury found that MP3tunes and its executive were "willfully blind" to copyright infringement on the site.

Robertson is a serial music tech entrepreneur who in 1997 launched, one of the web's first popular digital music sites.

MP3TunesMore than 2,100 copyrights were at issue in the liability phase of the MP3tunes trial, including some by David Bowie, The Beatles and Coldplay. The suit, originally filed in 2007, also took aim at a related Robertson founded site, His attorneys argued that Robertson should not be held liable, in part, because labels also made copies of many of the same songs available free online.

Roberston was not held liable for prated tracks stored by others on MP3tunes lockers.  Over the next two or three days, jurors will decide the size of damages due from yesterdays verdict and an earlier ruling against Roberston's company.

Music Tech Contrarian

Robertson has been a long term critic of big labels, publishers and what he see as antiquated copyright laws. He frequently penned opinon pieces published by many music and tech sites, including Hypebot.  

Robertson is also no stranger to litigation. A federal judge shut down in 2000 and a settlement netted an estimated $160 million rights holders. Juatt a year later, Roberston sold to Vivendi for $373 million. After the purchase by Vivendi, he cashed in with an estimated $103 million.[CBS later bought the site. 

Share on:


  1. I’m not sure what’s so funny about someone deliberately and willfully stealing music and then distributing said stolen music.

  2. Pretty sure you’re not getting why I’m LOL Since, I’ve been dealing with this since the 90s and a simple click on my name will take you to a distro co ERGO we’re simpatico

  3. Have you read the case? He didn’t “willfully steal and distribute” anything. Music that was already on the internet, that in most cases the record labels put there for promotional purposes, was made “storable” by the service, like iTunes.

  4. they are all a bunch of thieves & low lifes– the record labels have control of what crappy music they push on 9 year old girls & the radio plays it–this gives any good quality music zero chance in the business–you think Lourdes or Lady Ga Ga are the most talented ?? you are drunk??–& Robertson is just another rip off that steals $$ from some one with a legal contract– either way a legit musician is screwed–get off the labels & do it online with your own recources–we don’t need either Robertson or EMI any more–Miley Cyrus stated “I know more about whats going on in the streets then some 70 year old Jewish guy in an office”–we all know neither of them do!!!!

Comments are closed.