Popular songwriters and recording artists Randy Newman, Tom Waitsand members of the rock band Heart filed a $40 million federalcopyright infringement suit in Los Angeles against San Diego,Calif.-based MP3.com Inc.
The suit alleges that MP3.com willfully infringed upon thecopyrights of hundreds of songs written by these artists when MP3.comcopied tens of thousands of CDs onto its computer servers as part ofthe My.MP3.com service. The compositions at issue include Newman’s “ILove L.A.” and “Short People,” the tracks from Waits’ Grammyaward-winning album Mule Variations, and scores of songs writtenby sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
The complaint, filed by Henry Gradstein and Bruce Van Dalsem ofL.A.-based entertainment law firm Gradstein, Luskin & Van Dalsem,seeks the maximum statutory damages available under the Copyright Actin the amount of $150,000 per infringement.
“This is a case of artists banding together to protect their mostvaluable assets — their songs. More successful songwriters of thiscaliber need to stand up against copyright infringement in order toprotect their own rights and discourage the theft of music written bylesser-known artists who cannot afford to protect their smallercatalogs of work,” said attorney Van Dalsem.
In early December of 2000, the My.MP3.com service was resuscitatedafter negotiating licensing deals with the five major recordlabels.