UMG RECORDINGS, INC. v. MP3.COM, INC.
92 F.Supp.2d 349 (S.D.N.Y., 2000)
UMG Recordings is suing MP3.com, which is a site similar Napster that allows users to download songs when they are logged on to their site. The technology known as "MP3" permits rapid and efficient conversion of compact disc recordings ("CDs") to computer files easily accessed over the Internet. Using this technology, defendant MP3.com, on or around January 12, 2000, launched its "My.MP3.com" service, which it advertised as permitting subscribers to store, customize, and listen to the recordings contained on their CDs from any place where they have an internet connection. To make good on this offer, the defendant purchased tens of thousands of popular CDs in which UMG Recordings held the copyrights, and without authorization, copied their recordings onto its computer servers to be able to replay the recordings for its subscribers.
UMG Recordings wants to prove that that MP3.com
has infringed upon the copyrights of UMG Recordings. Defendant's infringement of plaintiff's copyrights is clear. However their defenses include copyright misuse, abandonment, unclean hands, and estoppel. These defenses were rejected. The rule of law in this case is obviously whether or not MP3.com did infringe upon the copyrights of UMG recording. In order to prove their case UMG recordings must prove that they are the owner of a valid, federally registered copyright and they must prove that the alleged infringer copied the original elements of the copyrighted work.
The pertinent facts in this case are as follows:
Specifically, in order to first access such a recording, a subscriber to MP3.com must either "prove" that he already owns the CD version of the recording by inserting his copy of the commercial CD into his computer CD-Rom drive for a few seconds or must purchase the...