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UMG Recordings v. MP3.com

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Citation Edit

UMG Recordings, Inc. v. MP3.com, 92 F.Supp.2d 349 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

In this case, the defendant, MP3.com, operated an online service called "My.MP3.com," which was 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."[1] The defendant purchased thousands of CDs in which the plaintiffs held copyrights, and without authorization, copied the recordings onto its computer server. Subscribers, upon proof of ownership of a given CD, could then access the music on that CD via the Internet from any computer. Subscribers could prove ownership of the CD by either inserting it into the computer's CD drive, or through purchase from one of the defendant's online retailers.

Various record companies sued MP3.com, for copyright infringement. MP3.com argued that the copying necessary to provide this service was a "fair use."

District Court Proceedings Edit

Rejecting this argument, the court found that copying the recordings to facilitate their retransmission through another medium was not a transformative use, nor was it a time-shifting transformative use (e.g., video taping a television program for viewing at a later time).

The court also held that the recordings at issue were at the core of intended copyright protection and the amount copied was excessive. Most importantly, the court concluded that MP3.com's business model had an adverse impact on the recording companies' market for selling compact discs as well as on other derivative markets.

References Edit

  1. 92 F.3d at 350.

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