Having begun the month with a setback in court, MP3.com, Inc. finds itself ending September facing several more lawsuits.
Downtown's Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP announced Sept. 19 it is filing a class-action suit against the company on behalf of all shareholders who purchased stock between Jan. 13 and Sept. 7. Law firms in Baltimore and Boca Raton, Fla., put out calls to shareholders about class-action cases last week.
In addition, three lawsuits were filed in San Diego Superior Court between Sept. 14 and Sept. 18, naming seven MP3.com officials , either officers or board members , as defendants. In at least two of the cases shareholders were plaintiffs.
San Diego-based MP3.com provides music and other audio content via the Internet. A federal judge in New York ruled in April that MP3.com infringed on copyrights held by a group of major music labels by creating a database of more than 80,000 albums.
Four of the labels settled out of court with the company, but Universal Music Group continued its lawsuit. The judge ruled Sept. 6 that MP3.com voluntarily infringed Universal's copyrights and set damages of $25,000 per CD infringed. The total number of CDs involved and the penalty will be determined in November.
In other news, Joe Fleischer, an MP3.com corporate vice president, has left to become CEO of iCast Music. ICast Music is the music channel of Woburn, Mass-based iCast, an "entertainment destination" on the Web that provides both original and syndicated video and audio content.