MP3.com Will Pay Universal $US53.4 Million

Online music service MP3.com Inc. (MPPP) will pay Universal Music Group $US53.4 million for infringing on copyrights held by the world's largest recording company. The decision, announced in a New York court Tuesday, was termed a judgment but apparently had the agreement of both sides.

While San Diego-based MP3.com has vowed to appeal a September ruling by Judge Jed Rakoff who found the Internet startup willfully violated Universal copyrights, Tuesday's decision brings some closure to the contentious case. MP3.com has spent an estimated $US100 million on settling with the other four major recording groups and securing licenses to their copyrighted material.

Rakoff had originally penalized MP3.com $US25,000 per infringed disc. Both sides disputed the number of discs involved; Universal claimed there were 10,000 infringements, while MP3.com said the number was 4,700.

Still, the amount is significantly lower than the $US118 million MP3.com would have had to pay even if the court accepted its estimate.

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