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TVT'S Damages Award Jumps From $300K To $3M

Original jury decision to award no damages for copyright infringment by MP3.com is reversed by federal judge.

A federal judge has increased TVT Records’ $297,873 award to about $3 million. The independent label won its copyright infringement suit against online music company MP3.com on Friday. U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff spoke with attorneys for TVT and MP3.com to notify them of his decision to amend the award handed down buy the Jury. TVT had sought $8.5 million in damages from MP3.com but the jury awarded no damages based upon proof of lost revenue. The jury found MP3.com infringed 145 copyrights, significantly fewer than the 1,000 infringements TVT claimed.

The increase in the award to TVT was made when several jurors contacted Judge Rakoff over the weekend, telling him that they had intended to award $3 million, not $300,000. It is expected that MP3.com will appeal the Court’s decision, seeking to reduce the TVT penalty and lower any future copyright liabilities by convincing the court that recordings made as “work for hire’ cannot be claimed to have been infringed. MP3.com still faces copyright infringement lawsuits filed by independent labels including Zomba Music and EMusic.

Still, the $3 million is significantly less than the $53.4 million MP3.com paid to Universal Music Group to end a copyright infringement suit brought by that company. In all, MP3.com has paid an estimated $163 million to the five major label groups and the National Music Publishers Association to settle copyright infringement claims.

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