Business News Digital Labels & Publishers Legal founder fails to have EMI case against him personally halted

By | Published on Tuesday 26 June 2012 founder Michael Robertson has failed to have legal proceedings being pursued against him by EMI halted, despite the demise of his of most recent digital music venture.

As much previously reported, EMI sued, one of the first music-specific digital locker services which also operated a platform for storing and sharing links to music online, accusing it of various kinds of copyright infringement.

In the end most court time was spent on the link sharing facility, which, a judge ruled, was basically legal under America’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act, though certain failures to operate an efficient takedown system (removing, when alerted by content owners, posted links that pointed to unlicensed content), and evidence Robertson himself used his own service to share links to unlicensed content, meant there was some liability for infringement.

After years of fighting the EMI litigation, which was first launched in 2007, filed for bankruptcy last month, and the ongoing legal case against it was stayed, or put on hold, permanently. But the major label had sued both the company and Robertson himself. And when the digital firm filed for bankruptcy protection last month, EMI accused Robertson of simply trying to avoid liability for the copyright infringement he was accused of, and vowed to continue to pursue the entrepreneur directly for damages.

For his part, Robertson requested that the court stay the case against him personally too, but yesterday a judge denied that request. This means that EMI can continue to fight Robertson through the courts in a bid to win its damages.

Some have suggested that the man could end up paying damages of up to $75 million to the major record company, though as C-Net points out, that seems unlikely, given last year LimeWire settled with the entire US record industry for $105 million, while in 2007 Kazaa settled for $100 million, and both services enabled vastly more infringement than, and the settlements were with all the majors, not just one. Though those deals were ultimately settled out of court, and it remains to be seen if Robertson will be willing to do that.