Are music storage lockers legal in the US?

Earlier this week, a US District Court released an import decision on the legality of music lockers services under US law. In the Capital Records , Inc v MP3Tunes, LLC, 2011 WL 3667335 (S.D.N.Y., Aug 22, 2011) case, the court ruled that MP3Tunes was liable for contributory infringement by providing storage locker services to its users when it knew that they had unlawfully downloaded copyright protected materials into the lockers. MP3Tunes was found liable because it allowed users to continue to store and access songs listed in valid copyright takedown notices. In the summary judgment motions ruled on, the court also held that MP3Tunes was not liable for allowing users to continue to store and access songs it was not required to remove under the DMCA.

There has been a lot of comments on the implications of the decision for other services including Google and Amazon’s storage locker services such as those here, here, here, here, herehere, and here.

The case isn’t over yet. Ultimate the disposition of the MP3Tunes case will depend on the resolution of key issues under the DMCA that are now before the Second Circuit in the Viacom v YouTube and  the Ninth Circuit in the UMG v Veoh cases. We are much more likely to know about the legality of these services when those cases and perhaps the US Supreme Court have ruled on them.

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