“I Get to Keep My Minivan.”

“I get to keep my minivan,” says MP3tunes owner Michael Robertson, who is claiming a victory in the copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by EMI last year. The record company accused Robertson and his Sideload.com of illegally providing free online access to thousands of songs; the portion of the lawsuit directed at Robertson has been dismissed.

“This is a significant victory,” he says at michaelrobertson.com, “because EMI had sought to take my cars, home, and bank accounts.… Increasingly, media companies are suing CEOs of companies as individuals.… It’s a short-circuiting of the court system, which is meant to adjudicate disagreements between businesses in this tech nologically shifting era.”

EMI’s lawsuit against Robertson’s website, however, will proceed. Sideload.com, launched in early 2006, allows users to store MP3 files in applications that make them playable with PCs, consoles, DVRs, Internet radios, and cell phones.

“I look forward to explaining to the court how MP3tunes is making it possible for more than 150,000 people to listen to their music everywhere, including some EMI person nel who have personally complimented me on our system.…

Robertson’s MP3.com was sued in 2000 by record labels and music publishers, resulting in a settlement of over $100 million. His AnywhereCD venture was shut down after being sued by Warner Brothers, and Robertson was sued for trademark infringement by Microsoft for calling another venture Lindows. He was forced to rename it Linspire.

– Jay Allen Sanford

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The EMI lawsuit, filed November 9th last year, alleges that MP3tunes "does not own the music it exploits, nor does MP3tunes have any legal right or authority to use or exploit that music."

Sideload.com was launched in early 2006, offering users access to "29,000 songs from more than 7,000 different artists," according to its initial press release. "No music is actually stored on Sideload.com," Robertson told the Reader last year. "Only links to files that are publicly available elsewhere on the net are collected." New links are frequently added, with the site's current list containing approximately 100,000 songs.

"It's possible some of the tracks may be unauthorized," Robertson said last year. "But the difference between Sideload and [the original] Napster is that we're simply a search engine; we're no different than Google. You can type that song name into Google or MSN or Yahoo! and chances are you're going to find the same song [link].... All we're doing is providing a nice interface where you can play it...."

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