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Spinrilla agrees to pay the majors $50 million to end copyright case

By | Published on Thursday 4 May 2023


Mixtape sharing platform Spinrilla has agreed to pay the major record companies $50 million in damages and to hand over its domain name to end a long-running copyright legal battle.

The majors first sued Spinrilla in the US in 2017, accusing the mixtape service of infringing their copyrights by allowing their music to be included in mixes without licence. For its part, Spinrilla claimed that it had previously had good relationships with the labels and that its service had safe harbour protection from liability under US copyright law, because it had a system in place via which copyright owners could request the removal of mixes that contained unlicensed music.

However, in 2020 the judge overseeing the case ruled by summary judgement that Spinrilla had not met all the requirements necessary to enjoy safe harbour protection, meaning that it was, in fact, liable for copyright infringement.

What would that liability mean in terms of damages? That was set to be decided by a jury. The majors were pushing for so called statutory damages, which – if the jury deemed the infringement wilful – could have meant $150,000 for each of the 4082 tracks the music companies had identified as having been used without licence. Which could have meant total damages in excess of $600 million.

So, I guess $50 million is a bit of a bargain. Confirming that a deal had now been done on damages without the matter going before a jury, a legal filing with the court yesterday requested that “judgment shall be entered in favour of plaintiffs and against defendants jointly and severally in the amount of $50 million, inclusive of any recoverable costs and attorneys’ fees”.

Spinrilla and its founder Jeffrey Copeland also commit to never again operate the Spinrilla service or use the Spinrilla brand. They also won’t ever infringe the copyrights of the majors, plus “defendants shall transfer the domain name to the plaintiffs in accordance with the terms of the confidential settlement agreement and release among the parties”.

So, that’s that then. Goodbye Spinrilla.