Record Labels, Internet
The Recording Industry Association of America has won an important battle against the four men behind Puretunes who attempted to take advantage of what they perceived as a loophole in Spanish law to allow them to sell MP3s online legally.The four individual defendants have, along with the company that owned the site they ran, agreed to pay music labels $10.5 million to settle the copyright infringement case brought against them by the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA sued Wayne Rosso, Daniel Rung, Michael Rung, Matthew Rung and Sakfield Holding Company SA in July 2003, alleging copyright infringement and that the defendants had defrauded customers into believing the music downloading site, Puretunes.com, had secured licenses from RIAA members even though they hadn’t. The site was established in Madrid May 2003 to sell music subscriptions, falsely believing that a loophole in Spanish law would allow it to sell US music licensed through Spanish music publishing agencies, without having to consult the record labels themselves. According to Rosso, the company shut down Puretunes.com in June 2003, after just a month in business, once they realized this was not the case. During its operation, Puretunes sold download subscriptions, ranging from $4 for eight hours a month access to the site, to $168 for a 12 months’ access. Numerous former users have alleged they never received refunds when the site closed. The settlement of that suit will see Sakfield pay RIAA members $10 million, with Rosso and the Rungs together coughing up an additional $500,000. All of them have agreed not to undertake any activity that would violate music labels’ copyright.