MP3tunes goes bankrupt due to record industry

Music is ending for MP3tunes.com, the service created by Michael Robertson in 2005 as a “cyber locker” ahead of its times and inevitably sued by the record industry for copyright infringement. The company filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of California, and its founder isn’t wary of directly accusing the music majors for this unfortunate outcome.

Already well known for MP3.com and his Lindows/Linspire project, Robertson funded MP3tunes to let people share their music with others and access it on-line from any device – in DRM-less digital format and with no need to pay a single cent to the copyright-owning labels.

MP3tunes was obviously taken to court by one of these labels (EMI), a case filed in 2007 and that still has to celebrate a proper trial. Robertson now explains that after four years of fruitless legal cost, “MP3tunes has no choice but to file” for bankruptcy.

It’s how the “Big Four” of the recording industry operate, the entrepreneur states, “the labels engage in multiyear legal battles and put small companies through hell for years” so that they don’t have the opportunity to flourish and develop their business.

MP3tunes is going bankrupt with debts valued between 1 million and 10 million dollars, while Robertson previously managed to get a now–Pyrrhic victory when a court in Manhattan judged that his company was not liable of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for letting its users download audio tracks with no known legal status.

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What this aritcle does not make clear enough is that MP3tunes isn't NOT losing in court. The record companies are losing in court.

The record companies sue and lose and sue and lose and sue and lose and sue and lose and sue and lose, and then MP3tunes goes bankrupt because they can't afford to be in court so much.

I thought this was another company but after reading the story it is not because I had wondered how it could have been shut down but forgot it's name.
Anyone know the company that:
You send your music to and they store it for you.
They covert to digital and you can stream it to any of your devices.
All music media stored is cataloged and if you list it you can buy sell and trade with other users. I remember it was cool they had robotic arms that did the managing of the music.

XChrome said,
I thought this was another company but after reading the story it is not because I had wondered how it could have been shut down but forgot it's name.
Anyone know the company that:
You send your music to and they store it for you.
They covert to digital and you can stream it to any of your devices.
All music media stored is cataloged and if you list it you can buy sell and trade with other users. I remember it was cool they had robotic arms that did the managing of the music.

mp3.com, though I believe there was another one before that had to shut down. also questionable leglaity, though since apple copied it....

HawkMan said,

mp3.com, though I believe there was another one before that had to shut down. also questionable leglaity, though since apple copied it....

NO not the company and I don't see how this company can be closed down. Ill restate what tehy do:

1. You send them your tape, vinyl, cd, or what have you.
2. They convert to a digital format and make avail to you via your account.
3. Your media is kept and stored and cataloged.
4. If you choose to enter the Buy, sell trade section then what you own is listed for just that.
5. If you buy, sell, trade then you lose access to that music and the person who bought or traded now has access.

So anyone know this company I could swear I heard an NPR report on them,.

simplezz said,
Got to keep the copyright cartel intact, by any means necessary.

They are fighting a losing battle, anyway. Instead of embracing new technology, they are resisting it at their peril.

Shiranui said,

They are fighting a losing battle, anyway. Instead of embracing new technology, they are resisting it at their peril.

I look forward to watching those companies come apart. They've stifled innovation and maintain a dictator-like iron grip over artists who don't really get a fair amount of the money they earn. If an artist is good and writing music that sells well then they should get rich, not the record industry.

Tim Dawg said,
I look forward to watching those companies come apart. They've stifled innovation and maintain a dictator-like iron grip over artists who don't really get a fair amount of the money they earn. If an artist is good and writing music that sells well then they should get rich, not the record industry.

Except they get a fair share. it's their choice to sign a contract with a big record company which entitles them to a certain percentage plus bonuses and all that, for that the record company provides quality state of the art studios and audio tech, printing and distribution of the music, handlign all the rights for them (a nightmare otherwise) promotions, ads and so on and so on.

If they're not happy with the percentage they could go indie, but then again, despite indie getting a more "fair" share of the profits, artists on big record labels tend to make a ******** more cash than an indie artists, even if the indie artists is "better".

yeah the record labels take the bigger share of the pay, but they "deserve" it and the artists makes more money from it.

HawkMan said,

Except they get a fair share. it's their choice to sign a contract with a big record company which entitles them to a certain percentage plus bonuses and all that, for that the record company provides quality state of the art studios and audio tech, printing and distribution of the music, handlign all the rights for them (a nightmare otherwise) promotions, ads and so on and so on.

If they're not happy with the percentage they could go indie, but then again, despite indie getting a more "fair" share of the profits, artists on big record labels tend to make a ******** more cash than an indie artists, even if the indie artists is "better".

yeah the record labels take the bigger share of the pay, but they "deserve" it and the artists makes more money from it.

artists make more money thru shows and tours and merch then actual album sales

Shiranui said,

They are fighting a losing battle, anyway. Instead of embracing new technology, they are resisting it at their peril.

I'll say it again also.
"Instead of embracing new technology, they are resisting it at their peril."

EXACTLY!!
Brain dead freaking pickles!

Uh, so it was just a piracy outfit. Sorry but no sympathy here, how stupid do you have to be to think you can get away with something like that. I love how the article makes the record industry out to be the bad guys in this situation though.

TRC said,
Uh, so it was just a piracy outfit. Sorry but no sympathy here, how stupid do you have to be to think you can get away with something like that. I love how the article makes the record industry out to be the bad guys in this situation though.

No it wasn't a piracy outfit. It was a site designed to allow its users share THEIR music or music that was copyright free. I used to use the mp3.com site and had loads of great music from indie artists. The copyright giants have killed yet another way for legit artists to function and get their work known.

Just because some users decide to put copyright works on there, does that mean the site should be shut down? why hasn't the likes of youtube been taken down yet? it's because they already have google in their back pocket, to the point they have direct access to take down content as their own wim. Public domain music and videos are being removed from youtube, accounts removed and EVEN public domain sited as copyright infringement or hosted as their own.

Its not as peachy as it seems. Even back in the day when Napster first started out, and to some degree now with bittorrent, their music and related sites promoted the heck out of it for people to use it and THEN sued the users for using it.

sagum said,

Just because some users decide to put copyright works on there, does that mean the site should be shut down?

Actually yeah because that's illegal...
I don't exactly support the record labels bullying people around, but if somebody is going to openly run a service that distributes copyrighted music for free, then it shouldn't be a big shocker when they get sued. The guy was obviously making money by running this service, so why should be be allowed to profit off of something that's not his property?

Astra.Xtreme said,

Actually yeah because that's illegal...
I don't exactly support the record labels bullying people around, but if somebody is going to openly run a service that distributes copyrighted music for free, then it shouldn't be a big shocker when they get sued. The guy was obviously making money by running this service, so why should be be allowed to profit off of something that's not his property?

Maybe you didn't read all the artical, so I'll refresh
"a court in Manhattan judged that his company was not liable of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for letting its users download audio tracks with no known legal status." - So actually its perfectly legal.

What this amounts to is abuse by the big companies who have money to throw at the court cases to keep the smaller company tangled up in a near never ending battle where they submit defeat (as in this case) due to financial restraints.

Also, just because the media giants sue you, does NOT mean you are guilty. You are only guilty when found guilty. This guy has already been found NOT guilty already over the original DMCA allegations.

If these media companies wanted to help themselfs, they'd have worked with Michael to find a way to detect, remove and ban users who abuse his site. They're up aganst the digital age now and unless they embrace what it can do for them, they're just going to have a lot of unhappy customers.
Instead they're quite happy to wipe out any company who poses a risk to their media empire and control. Sites like mp3.com and the like who give freedom and a userbase of unsigned indie artists rich for the picking are a dire and stark reality that the media companies don't want to see grow. How fast things change these days the media companies could go under within a year and we see a new set of giants. Who'd have thought Apple would have taken over the personal music playback or mobile phone industry like it has? Its happening and they are scared.

Edited by sagum, May 14 2012, 2:21am :

sagum said,

Maybe you didn't read all the artical, so I'll refresh
"a court in Manhattan judged that his company was not liable of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for letting its users download audio tracks with no known legal status." - So actually its perfectly legal.

What this amounts to is abuse by the big companies who have money to throw at the court cases to keep the smaller company tangled up in a near never ending battle where they submit defeat (as in this case) due to financial restraints.

Also, just because the media giants sue you, does NOT mean you are guilty. You are only guilty when found guilty. This guy has already been found NOT guilty already over the original DMCA allegations.

If these media companies wanted to help themselfs, they'd have worked with Michael to find a way to detect, remove and ban users who abuse his site. They're up aganst the digital age now and unless they embrace what it can do for them, they're just going to have a lot of unhappy customers.
Instead they're quite happy to wipe out any company who poses a risk to their media empire and control. Sites like mp3.com and the like who give freedom and a userbase of unsigned indie artists rich for the picking are a dire and stark reality that the media companies don't want to see grow. How fast things change these days the media companies could go under within a year and we see a new set of giants. Who'd have thought Apple would have taken over the personal music playback or mobile phone industry like it has? Its happening and they are scared.

Alternatively, instead of letting just anyone sign up, he could have required a more in depth registration, and only allowed people who signed up as artists to upload. and in addition to that have intelligent filters who detect music who might be copyrighted, then tag them for review and suspend the account until it has been reviewed, add in user tagging of possible pirated/copyrighted music and a deal with record companies to tag stuff, and he'd have no problems.

of course he wouldn't do this, because it was never his intention to stop people from uploading copyrighted music in the first place.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Actually yeah because that's illegal...
I don't exactly support the record labels bullying people around, but if somebody is going to openly run a service that distributes copyrighted music for free, then it shouldn't be a big shocker when they get sued. The guy was obviously making money by running this service, so why should be be allowed to profit off of something that's not his property?

When is the police shutting down Ford? Their cars are used, ALSO, to rob banks.............

HawkMan said,
Alternatively, instead of letting just anyone sign up, he could have required a more in depth registration, and only allowed people who signed up as artists to upload. and in addition to that have intelligent filters who detect music who might be copyrighted, then tag them for review and suspend the account until it has been reviewed, add in user tagging of possible pirated/copyrighted music and a deal with record companies to tag stuff, and he'd have no problems.

of course he wouldn't do this, because it was never his intention to stop people from uploading copyrighted music in the first place.

And why should it be his intention? The court said he's not liable. So why should he do all that extra work?

Fritzly said,

When is the police shutting down Ford? Their cars are used, ALSO, to rob banks.............

Um... a service is very different than a physical object...

sagum said,

If these media companies wanted to help themselfs, they'd have worked with Michael to find a way to detect, remove and ban users who abuse his site.

That's actually Michael's job and the media companies aren't going to spend the money to do his job for him. I'm sure he was sent plenty of warnings and legal notifications that he obviously ignored.

Fritzly said,

When is the police shutting down Ford? Their cars are used, ALSO, to rob banks.............

Yes, people only use cars to rob banks. Stop being so naive, we all know what this service was intended and used for. Stop trying to pretend and just admit it.

TRC said,

Yes, people only use cars to rob banks. Stop being so naive, we all know what this service was intended and used for. Stop trying to pretend and just admit it.

Speak for yourself............I do not steal. I buy music and movies on physical discs only. And btw you still are innocent until proven guilty....... at least for now.....................

Astra.Xtreme said,

Actually yeah because that's illegal...
I don't exactly support the record labels bullying people around, but if somebody is going to openly run a service that distributes copyrighted music for free, then it shouldn't be a big shocker when they get sued. The guy was obviously making money by running this service, so why should be be allowed to profit off of something that's not his property?

So if you do something illegal in your appartment is the owner of the building liable.

I hope not. And in fact he is not at all.

There's absolutely no reason why p2p should be different.

How would you call a country where big publishers shut down service to share art works because they want those art works to be published under their label and get the money ?

Astra.Xtreme said,

Um... a service is very different than a physical object...


USPS is a service. If you send some ilegal pictures using this service USPS wont be liable.

TRC said,

Yes, people only use cars to rob banks. Stop being so naive, we all know what this service was intended and used for. Stop trying to pretend and just admit it.

The reason is the police does its job. Remove the police and the country will be a blood bath. Sadly online the police doesn't do its job at all.

It's police duty to catch the thieves. Not the owner of a service to share art works.

If a studio ask him to remove a file and he doesn't do it then it's another story. But as long as he removes files when asked for then there's no problem with the service.

Astra.Xtreme said,

Actually yeah because that's illegal...
I don't exactly support the record labels bullying people around, but if somebody is going to openly run a service that distributes copyrighted music for free, then it shouldn't be a big shocker when they get sued. The guy was obviously making money by running this service, so why should be be allowed to profit off of something that's not his property?

Hey! That guy just stabbed that other guy with a sharp knife that he got from company X. Let's shut down the company!

Hey! That kid just strapped a Blackcat firework to that dog's tail. Blackcat are in for it now!

Hay! That guy just used that filesharing site to send work that was not his own to other people. Oh that file locker is so getting shut down.

sometimes I ponder on the question, how society got to the point where it is so stupidly arrogant, that we are willing to shut down the tools which have legitimate legal and beneficial functions, just because some other people wish to use it illegally.

You want to know the real problem here? it is because piracy is in such a grey area in terms of legality and moral impact, that the legal system literally does not know what to do with it. The legal systems ethics was formed long before any kind of product could have been infinitely distributed instantly across thousands of miles. As a result they're trying to hammer the problem into an old archaic hole which does not fit the situation at hand.

would you download a handbag? would you download a car? would you download a DVD?

The way you look at that, you begin to think, well hang on a minute you can't download a car or a handbag. Well guess what! With the technical definition of stealing or theft, it is impossible to steal digital content through piracy. piracy is piracy. there is no other thing that you can link it to. The reason that media organisations linked it to the word theft, was because that they needed some kind of moral hook to get people on board with their cause.

Now I will say this. I do believe that artists have the right to be paid for their work. But let me emphasis something in that statement. ARTISTS! Not publishers that take the majority of the profits for themselves, while leaving the actual artists with a miniscule amount which is barely enough to keep them going with their own independence. The amount of work that a publishing platform has to do in order to get content distributed, is no longer proportionate to the amount of money that they ask for. You throw the file on a server and let the software do the work. Wow. What an expensive operation. Band camp is a publishing platform which gives the artist 90% of all profits, as well as giving the person who purchased the music choice of what format they wish it to be downloaded in. MP3? FLAC? ACC? Don't worry, we will let you choose. This to me is the correct approach to publishing in a digital age.

SOPA, ACTA, the mega upload takedown, Pirate Bay blocking, legal pressure on small start-ups like MP3 tunes, is all a result of publishers putting the legal system and government in their own back pocket, In a desperate attempt to try and stay alive in a world which is moving forward.