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Contact: Sherwin Siy
Today, a federal court in New York found that online music locker service MP3tunes, and its music search engine Sideload.com could qualify for protection from lawsuits under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, the court also found that the company was liable for failing to adequately respond to takedown requests. According to the court, notices sent to the locker service obliged it not only to remove public links to infringing songs, but also to remove those songs from users' lockers on its servers.
The following can be attributed to Sherwin Siy, Deputy Legal Director of Public Knowledge:
"This ruling paves the way for both cloud locker services and integrated media search engines. With just a few tweaks to the method of dealing with takedown notices, any number of companies can follow in MP3tunes' footsteps in giving users a flexible online home for their music."
Despite this finding, the court eliminated many of the claims against the Internet company, including one based on a theory that common methods of storing music on a cloud-based server would by itself infringe copyright. The court rejected this argument.
"Many of the arguments raised by EMI weren't just about MP3tunes," Siy said. "They set forth a theory of copyright that would have imperiled remote-storage services and other cloud applications. The court's rejection of these arguments deflates a lot of the legal uncertainty that record labels have tried to inject into these technological developments."
Public Knowledge filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, urging the court to reject EMI's radical theories and arguing that the technology behind MP3tunes did not in itself violate copyright law:
The case is Capitol Records, Inc. v. MP3tunes, LLC, and is available here:
Public Knowledge is a Washington D.C.- based public interest group working to defend consumer rights in the emerging digital culture. More information is available at http://www.publicknowledge.org.