Popular songwriters and recording artists Randy Newman, Tom Waits and members of the rock band Heart filed a $40 million federal copyright infringement suit in Los Angeles against San Diego, Calif.-based MP3.com Inc.
The suit alleges that MP3.com willfully infringed upon the copyrights of hundreds of songs written by these artists when MP3.com copied tens of thousands of CDs onto its computer servers as part of the My.MP3.com service.
In other news, Vivendi Universal acquired the company for $5 a share, or approximately $372 million in cash and stock. MP3.com will maintain its role as the premier distributor of music on the Internet and will continue to feature content from all record labels and from independent artists. Additionally, the service is also a candidate for Duet, the joint venture between Vivendi and Sony Music to create an online digital music subscription service due out this summer. Michael Robertson, MP3.com founder, chairman and CEO, will become special advisor to Jean-Marie Messier, chairman and CEO of Vivendi, with regard to Vivendi's digital distribution.
“We will continue with our current MP3.com pursuits, but also work with our new partners to innovate subscription systems and music offerings that reach a global audience across many devices,” said Robertson.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, approval by the MP3.com shareholders and other customary closing conditions.