EMI lawyers still confident over MP3tunes case

By | Published on Tuesday 28 June 2011

Lawyers for EMI are confident the major record company will win their long running lawsuit against Michael Robertson with regards his digital locker service, according to Grokster founder Wayne Rosso, writing on The Music Void.

As much previously reported, was one of the first music-based digital lockers to reach market, and legal action from EMI quickly followed. Robertson, who, as founder of the original is used to fighting record companies, insists his service does not require a licence from the record companies and music publishers, whereas EMI says that without such a licence is committing copyright infringement by storing copies of its customer’s music on their servers.

Of course, that’s an increasingly familiar debate, since Amazon and Google likewise launched music-focused digital lockers without any licenses from the music companies earlier this year. Rosso’s sources say a resolution on EMI v MP3tunes could come within the next few months, which could have a bearing on the roll out of the Amazon and Google lockers.

Rosso points out that if EMI loses this legal action it will give the two web giants’ services a definite boost, though if EMI wins it doesn’t necessarily mean legal papers will immediately be filed against Amazon and Google, rather the record companies will have a stronger case for forcing the web firms to agree to licensing deals and sizable upfront advances.

That said, some legal experts reckon there is enough difference between the service and the very simplistic music lockers currently offered by Amazon and Google for the big web players to dismiss any ruling against as not being relevant to them.

Either way, all parties will continue to watch EMI v very carefully. If Rosso’s sources are right and we get a late summer resolution on it, the timing will be very apt, given Amazon, Google and Apple – the latter operating a licensed (by the majors in the US at least) locker – will all presumably be planning big pushes of their respective music storage services in the autumn and the run up to Christmas.