Mp3Tunes Founder Michael Robertson was ordered to pay an estimated $41 million on Wednesday arter being found liable for infringing on copyrights owned by Capital Records and other companies once owned by EMI. The verdict, which could have broader implications for other cloud computing and storage services, included $7.5 million in punitive damages.
The court ruling was so complex that lawyers were unsure of the exact amount of the ruling, but EMI lawyer Luke Platzer, estimated the total at $41 million. Under law, Robertson's liablily could have ranged as high as $63 million.
The ruling came a week after a federal jury found that Michael Robertson, the founder and former CEO of bankrupt digital music storage locker MP3tunes, had been "willfully blind" to copyright infringement on the site. Robertson is a serial music tech entrepreneur who in 1997 launched MP3.com, one of the web's first popular digital music sites.
Ruling Has Broader Implications
The ruling could have wide spread applications for cloud computing and storage services. "The verdict seems questionable on a variety of levels, not the least of which is that MP3Tunes apparently had, and followed, a clear DMCA take down policy (which an earlier court ruling had found to be sufficient)," wrote Mike Masnick on Techdirt. "Where this case became more complicated was over the question of whether or not the company had 'red flag knowledge' of infringement and whether Robertson himself was liable, in that he'd 'sideloaded' certain songs that he'd found publicly available elsewhere online into his music locker."
Roberston has said he plans to appeal.