MP3Tunes throws in the towel

Big Content has opened the champers this morning after managing to force MP3tunes Inc to file for bankruptcy.

The company had a prolonged run-in with music publishing giant EMI Group over copyright disputes – which bled the company dry.

MP3tunes was a cloud music service that let users store music in online “lockers.” The idea is used by, Apple and Google which have similar cloud services but more cash for lawyers, as it turned out MP3Tunes made a few mistakes that the bigger companies did not.

According to ReutersEMI sued MP3tunes and its chief executive, Michael Robertson as part of a piracy campaign. The case was interesting because last year, a federal judge in Manhattan said MP3tunes and Robertson did not violate the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in permitting downloads, except as to songs specifically identified as having been pirated.

The judge said that users, rather than MP3tunes, were responsible for infringements. But he did say the company was liable for “contributory” copyright infringement for songs where notices of alleged infringement were provided. Robertson was liable for having personally transferred songs from unauthorised websites, the judge ruled.

The copyright case is still pending before the Southern District of New York court, but it is more or less all over, bar the shouting.

MP3tunes had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 code. The company had listed out assets of about $7,800 and liabilities of $2.1 million which makes anyone getting any cash out of the company unlikely.