EMI Back To Trying To Personally Bankrupt Michael Robertson
from the despicable dept
It’s one thing to try to influence politicians and laws to protect an incredibly obsolete business model. It’s another thing to try to shut down innovative companies who are better serving the market than you can. But it’s in an entirely different class of evil to go after individuals personally for the actions of companies, in an attempt to bankrupt them. Stand up and take a bow, EMI, for not just doing the latter, but then paying a witness, getting her to change her deposition and get a lawsuit reinstated against an individual after the judge had already tossed it out. EMI has leapfrogged to the front of the line for the most despicable record labels out there. No wonder their artists are jumping ship as fast as possible.
You may recall that EMI not only sued Michael Robertson’s most recent company, MP3Tunes, but also sued Robertson personally, which is an intimidation technique that creates tremendous chilling effects for any executive or founder of any company. We thought it was good news a year ago, when the court dismissed the part against Robertson directly. The whole lawsuit seems crazy anyway. MP3Tunes isn’t set up for infringement — it just sets up a way for you to store your own songs online in a music locker for your own personal access. So the whole lawsuit is questionable anyway, but seems to be part of EMI’s greater strategy of suing every innovative music startup.
However, a new ruling has apparently put Robertson personally back in the firing line, after MP3Tunes’ former president gave a new deposition (after she was fired, and well after her original deposition). The new testimony apparently convinced the judge to reinstate the personal lawsuit against Robertson, though the judge doesn’t seem to discount the fact that Emily Richards had been fired by Robertson (so her new testimony should be suspect already) and the rather interesting fact that EMI paid Richards $10,000. That combination of facts should raise plenty of credibility questions, but apparently did not.
So, once again, we’re left with an incredibly chilling situation, where execs of companies are being sued personally — exactly what the entire corporate structure is designed to prevent. So, congrats, EMI, for reaching a new low in misguided copyright-related lawsuits.