It finally happened: MP3tunes sued

Update/Disclaimer: It seems that Mp3tunes was sued as far back as November after practically poking EMI with a stick, but only now decided to ask for help. Be sceptical.

We were all scratching our heads on how Mp3tunes was pertaining to remain below the RIAA radar with such a blatant attempt to provide a service to their customers. As fate would have it, they finally got around to doing what many were expecting a long time before. Nevermind if the service is actually illegal (it does not seem to be) if others are helping the music labels make more money and/or discover their products, they deserve to be sued to oblivion!

Sometimes you have to wonder just how much more suicidal Music labels can get.

It’s not going to be a major blow to anyone in any sense of the way as a lot people were using it just as an online backup (including me) instead of an actual streaming service. Since they recently decided to stop providing free unlimited storage, the utility of it dropped like a stone.
Expect Mp3tunes to soon cave in under financial pressure and EMI to boast about a major blow or whatever.

The following is the email I received in my inbox this morning, I’m not the first to post it so you’ve probably read it elsewhere but just in case…

Dear MP3tunes Customer,

Let me start by saying that as the CEO of MP3tunes I appreciate your support over the last few years. Your suggestions and patience have helped us build the Locker system we have today. We just launched AutoSync that makes managing your music collection easier than ever.

As you may be aware, the major record label EMI has sued MP3tunes, claiming our service is illegal. You can read about the case here. Much is at stake — if you don’t have the right to store your own music online then you won’t have the right to store ebooks, videos and other digital products as well. The notion of ownership in the 21st century will evaporate. The idea of ownership is important to me and I want to make sure I have that right and my kids do too.

I would like to ask for your assistance in our battle for personal music ownership. We need your help because we are a small, 15-person company battling an international giant. They would like to make us spend all of our money paying legal bills. Here’s what you can do to help:

1) Please upgrade to a Premium account. This week MP3tunes is launching 3 service levels. I hope you will consider signing up for one of the paid levels. This will not only help us pay for the costs of our service (machines, storage and bandwidth) but a portion will go to cover our legal costs in our case with EMI.

2) If you have a chance to talk publicly about our cause on your blog, with friends, reporters or even EMI personnel please do so. MP3tunes is working hard to design a secure personal music service. We don’t promote sharing of music in any manner. We want people to legally acquire their music. But once they do, we think it’s important that you be able to use it how you want for your personal use. The AmazonMP3 store says: “You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use.” and this is what MP3tunes allows you to do.

You have my commitment that I’ll continually battle for your right to store your music online and listen to it anywhere on any device. I hope you’ll consider helping MP3tunes in our battle. Thanks.

— Michael Robertson

For those noot familiar with this person btw, it is the same one who in the past started which was, unsurprisingly sued back in 2000 and lost (this last bit of info taken from Crunchgear). Michael Robertson just can’t get any love from the Recording Cartel…


Just started syncing my music collection with Mp3Tunes. I discovered the thing through the Amarok blog (which incidentally has a really nice article about it) and the service seems promising, not to mention [tag]useful[/tag], especially for the backup aspects of it. I was always scared that my HDD would unexpectedly crash before I had a chance to DVD-backup my current version of my collection and this presents me an excellent option.

I guess now that I have a website, I could just as easily upload everything there through ftp, but it always seemed more trouble than it was worth. With this service however which provides unlimited storage I get to back it up and also get some extra perks for it.

It’s not that I need an online streaming option since is perfectly capable of providing me with a radio station that I’m certain to like, but it’s still nice to have the option to listen to a specific song I crave.

The funny thing is that as far as I can see, this is perfectly legal. I am not distributing my music but rather storing it for personal use. The fact that “someone” could share his password with a friend who could then easily download anything he wanted from the collection does not make any difference 😉

One could easily take the next step and think about creating a “group account”, with a shared password among several friends who could then listen to songs from a much larger collection. This group could easily pool their money to buy a premium account at a very low cost and get all the benefits at a fraction of the cost.

What also perplexes me is the way these people suppose to make money out of this. They provide unlimited space for millions of people who will use it to upload Gigabytes over gigabytes of music. Then they are going to use it to listen to said music which should create enormous bandwidth needs. I know that storage is quite cheaper nowadays but storage, plus backup is not and unless they’ve figured out the perfect way to compress music then I don’t see how they can make money by giving premium users only small bonuses like unrestricted album covers and large file size and I don’t think that the music store is so attractive either.
The whole thing smells of .com bubble.

For the paranoid amongst us, you could even think that this is an elaborate scam by the RIAA to, in effect, voluntarily implicate ourselves with our collections.

In any case, I have now been added to the unlimited storage. If any of my friends is interested in the service and wants to get an immediate unlimited storage, I have three promo codes left that I can give you to get priority.

Right now, after 2.5 hours of up-syncing, I am still at 2% of progress. To finish it would take 4 non-stop full 24-hour days of syncing which I plan to do 🙂

All that needs to be done after that is to have it record my music to and/or be playable through Amarok itself (which should take care of the former as well, for LXers at least)