Paul McCartney's Publishing Company Sues MP3.com
MP3.com provides an archiving service for its members, who can upload their favorite songs to a server computer and then access them from any Internet-connected computer, thereby saving themselves the necessity of carrying player, headphones, and discs with them. Members are supposed to have purchased the discs they wish to archive, but are not required to prove their ownership. MP3.com has archived more than 80,000 recordings, according to the Reuters news service.
The legal move against MP3.com is "the first lawsuit undertaken by independent publishing companies," according to McCartney spokesman Paul Freunlich. Other labels and publishers may follow. McCartney isn't personally involved in the litigation, but his association with the plaintiff raises the ante in the anti-piracy crusade.
MPL's action was welcomed by the music industry, but at least one law professor looked askance at the thrust of the action, pointing out that such litigation could hinder the development of new technology. "The danger of lawsuits like these is that [they] attempt to control and shape the development of technology to serve an existing business model," said New York University law professor Yochin Benkler. "The business models need to change to fit the technology, not the other way around." Benkler claims the fact that music can be copied illegally is a "side effect" of MP3.com's database, not its intended purpose. MP3.com officials and attorneys would not comment on the case.