Feeds

Spanish MP3 site owner to pay RIAA $10m

Puretunes.com settles lawsuit

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Four men who attempted to use what they believed was a loophole in Spanish law to allow them to sell MP3s online legally, along with the company behind the site they ran, have agreed to pay music labels $10.5m to settle the copyright infringement case brought against them by the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA).

The site, Puretunes.com, was set up in May 2003 to sell music download subscriptions. According to one-time Grokster CEO Wayne Rosso, who left the P2P company to join Puretunes, the site was established in Madrid to take advantage of a quirk of Spanish law that the company believed allowed it to sell to the US music licensed through Spanish music publishing agencies but without having to deal with the record labels themselves.

Unfortunately, no such loophole existed. According to Rosso, the company killed the Puretunes.com site when it became clear that this was the case. The site was shut down in June 2003, less than a month after it opened for business.

While it was operational, Puretunes sold download subscriptions, ranging from $4 for eight hours a month access to the site, to $168 for a 12 months' access.

Since the closure, a number of former users have alleged that they never received refunds when the site closed. And an investigation carried out by German IT site Heise Online at the time revealed a number of tracks made available by Puretunes contained ID3 tags added by controversial Russian music site allofmp3.com, suggesting they had been copied.

The RIAA sued four named Puretunes operators - in addition to Rosso, it named Daniel Rung, Michael Rung and Matthew Rung - and the firm that owned it, Sakfield Holding Company SA, in July 2003. It alleged not only copyright infringement but that the defendants had defrauded customers into believing Puretunes had secured licences from RIAA members evn though they hadn't.

A Register investigation at the time revealed the Madrid-based Sakfield was owned by Dutch company Chantik Financing Services, which was then administered by NCS in Amsterdam on behalf of owners Dean Properties on the Caribbean island of Curacao and MTM Group on Bermuda. Dean Properies was at the time administrated by a trust agent in Miami.

The settlement of that suit will see Sakfield pay RIAA members $10m, with Rosso and the Rungs together coughing up an additional $500,000. All of them agree not to undertake any activity that would violate music labels' copyright. ®

Related stories

Much smoke to BPI's fileshare suits, but where's the fire?
Consumer, privacy groups demand seat at Kazaa trial
MPAA asks Supreme Court to crush P2Pers
UK record industry sues 28 file-sharers
Kazaa colleague sues RIAA
Aussie judge sets Kazaa trial date
RIAA sues Spanish music site
DRM-less MP3s from $3.99

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.