NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Online music company MP3.com on Wednesday said it would disable from its My.MP3.Com service, its customers' access to music from major record labels, two weeks after a federal court said MP3.com infringed on the record companies' copyrights.|
San Diego-based MP3.com (MPPP: Research, Estimates) called the move an "act of good faith" while it continues settlement talks. But the move was inevitable, Wall Street experts say, in light of U.S. District Court Judge Rakoff's April 28 decision that MP3.com was liable for copyright infringement.
"We regret the need to take this step, which inconveniences more than 500,000 My.MP3.com account holders," Robin Richards, MP3.com president, said in a statement. "While we disagree with the court's decision, we also want to demonstrate our good faith and strong desire to achieve an expeditious business resolution."
In January, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a music industry trade group representing the five largest music conglomerates, filed the suit, which sought to shut down the company's Web site My.MP3.com. RIAA represents the five leading record companies, EMI, Universal, BMG, Sony, and Warner Bros., which is owned by Time Warner, the parent company of CNNfn.com.
"We think their decision to take down the unauthorized works is a natural result of the court's decision," an RIAA spokesman told CNNfn.com. He refused to comment on the status of negotiations with MP3.com or how the development affects the copyright suit.
RIAA filed the suit after MP3.com in January launched My.MP3.com, and its Instant Listening and Beam-it services, which allows MP3.com visitors to listen on a computer anywhere to a CD they already purchased and had at home.
In order to support the service, MP3.com stockpiled more than 80,000 music disks, and stored them digitally for playback to its customers. RIAA charged that MP3.com did not receive permission from the artists and their record labels in order to offer such a service, thereby violating copyright law.
MP3.com said its still hopes to settle the infringement issue, and to reach an agreement to obtain legal access to the record companies' musical works.
"We expect to restore user access to the 'Big Five' major label groups' content if and when a settlement is reached and licenses are executed," Roberts said.
In the interim, enthusiasts can still use the service to hear songs performed by several thousand musicians, mostly unsigned and unknown, but not the music of the major labels, which feature the artists who top the charts.