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Legal Update on Personal Lockers

Our battle to defend the legality of personal music lockers is inching forward and I'm anxious to have the Judge examine the core issue - can you store your music in the cloud so you can access it on any device? I think the answer is yes and believe the law is on our side, but the Judge will ultimately decide. Before we get to his ruling we have to traverse the many steps in the lengthy and costly US legal system which is what I want to update you on.

Last week myself and our CTO Doug Reese were deposed by attorneys for the music companies. This entails sitting through hours of grilling - virtually none of which is relevant to the underlying issues. Their legal strategy appears to be to attempt to avoid the actual issues and instead paint MP3tunes as a haven for piracy and lawlessness and me as a renegade. The problem with this strategy is there is zero evidence to support this because we are not. If people want to pirate music there are thousands of ways to do it on the net, but using a music locker is not one of them because we have tight security, no anonymous access and no way to move files between lockers.

EMI has demanded and received hundreds of gigabytes of source code from our company which they've scoured. These digital footprints prove our system operates responsibly and transparently. They've hired technical experts USC Professor Ellis Horowitz and Sam Rubin to examine how our system operates and all the changes we've made over time. I hope some of Mr. Horowitz' students ask him why he is testifying to get personal online storage made illegal. I'd like to ask him why he wants a world where you can't store your digital possessions online.

Tens of thousands of internal emails and external documents (support questions, user feedback, contracts, etc) have been turned over to EMI for their review. It's time consuming and laborious for our small company to produce these documents but we have no secrets. They can point to no documents which indicate there's piracy happening with our systems and we are overlooking it.

Conversely, we have asked EMI Records to turn over their relevant emails and they have incredulously told the Judge they cannot search their email without going to every single employee's computer. EMI uses Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft lists 19 companies which make ediscovery software which can easily search email systems. We're going to inform the court of this fact the next chance we have.

Without evidence that MP3tunes is a haven for piracy EMI is resorting to delays and personal attacks. Since anyone with knowledge knows we are a responsible company that does not encourage piracy, EMI has tried to find anyone who will speak negatively about us - even if they are completely uninformed. In his last ruling the Judge threw out testimony from two EMI witnesses because they had "no personal knowledge". Next week there's a meeting with the Judge. Our expectation is that EMI will ask for more delays which we will object to. No delay is needed in this case. They know exactly how our systems work. They filed this case nearly 2 years ago, but courts usually grant such requests.

In the meantime, EMI is tracking my every move to expand their personal attack. They were not happy that I disclosed how they are expanding their lawsuit targets to third party developers like Ryan Sit. They demanded I turn over my personal locker ID so they can look through the songs that I personally have. I have nothing to hide although music snobs may negatively critique my "80s heavy with a healthy dose of ambient" personal music locker. In fact, MP3tunes just made it possible for everyone to publish song listings from their locker to share their newest or recently listened to tracks with the world. You can see mine here and you don't even need to file a lawsuit to do it. Check it out:

--MR
michael@michaelrobertson.com



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