NME.COM

I WANT MY MP3!

Universal strike a deal with the site and describe it as "a tremendous opportunity" to deliver music digitally...

The UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP (UMG) have struck a distribution deal with MP3.COM, following a court ruling the website should pay US$53.4 million in statutory damages and attorneys fees to the music giant.

In January this year, UMG, along with five other major labels, filed a suit claiming copyright infringement against the website. MP3.COM provide users with the facility to listen to music in streaming MP3 format provided they'd previously inserted a copy of the record into their computer as a way of proving ownership.

According to a report on www.mp3.com
the case has now ended, with US District Judge Jed Rakoff awarding $53.4 million in statutory damages and attorneys fees to Universal.

Speaking about the verdict, Zach Horowitz, President and Chief Operating Officer of UMG commented that it was never the company's intention to put MP3.com out of business, and said: "Universal Music pursued this case to send a strong message that copyrights will be protected and that copyright owners and artists need to be properly compensated for use of their work."

Following the announcement, Universal revealed that it has agreed a US distribution deal with MP3.COM, allowing non-exclusive distribution of Universal material via MP3.COM.

Michael Robertson, Chairman and CEO of MP3.com described it as "a tremendous opportunity" to deliver music digitally, and added: "As we move ahead, this provides clear evidence that the needs of rights holders and music fans can be accommodated in the digital music space. The marketplace that has served artists and consumers for so long will continue to thrive in the era of the Internet."

Universal are the final major label to reach an agreement with MP3.COM. Deals were previously struck with Sony, EMI, BMG and Warner Brothers.

According to a report on www.sonicnet.com, it is expected that the site will be running with content from all five major label groups "within the next few weeks".

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