Yesterday I got an email from Michael Robertson of MP3tunes, personally asking me for help (yeah were that close). You see, MP3tunes is being sued by EMI music for making it easy for people to store and access legally purchased music online. The labels are arguing that ripping a CD and uploading it for storage is tantamount to distributing it and is therefore illegal. Rebuffed by the courts in March, EMI is undetered and Michael says the labels efforts to sue his company out of existence is causing him major agita. Michael doesnt want me to write my congressperson or file an amicus brief on his behalf, what he really wants from me is Money. In the letter, apparently sent at random to conencted to the Interwebs, Michael has two request: 1) people upgrade their free MP3tunes accounts to the premium level. 2) blog about his plight. I’ve held a premium account for close to two years (Michael you need a better database marketing system) and I’ve now blogged about it so I consider my obligation fulfilled. Full email from Michael after the jump.
Subject: Personal Message From MP3tunes CEO
Date: 4/22/2008 4:05 PM
Dear MP3tunes Customer,
Let me start by saying that as the CEO of MP3tunes I appreciate your support over the last few years. Your suggestions and patience have helped us build the Locker system we have today. We just launched AutoSync that makes managing your music collection easier than ever.
As you may be aware, the major record label EMI has sued MP3tunes, claiming our service is illegal. You can read about the case here. Much is at stake — if you don’t have the right to store your own music online then you won’t have the right to store ebooks, videos and other digital products as well. The notion of ownership in the 21st century will evaporate. The idea of ownership is important to me and I want to make sure I have that right and my kids do too.
I would like to ask for your assistance in our battle for personal music ownership. We need your help because we are a small, 15-person company battling an international giant. They would like to make us spend all of our money paying legal bills. Here’s what you can do to help:
1) Please upgrade to a Premium account. This week MP3tunes is launching 3 service levels. I hope you will consider signing up for one of the paid levels. This will not only help us pay for the costs of our service (machines, storage and bandwidth) but a portion will go to cover our legal costs in our case with EMI.
2) If you have a chance to talk publicly about our cause on your blog, with friends, reporters or even EMI personnel please do so. MP3tunes is working hard to design a secure personal music service. We don’t promote sharing of music in any manner. We want people to legally acquire their music. But once they do, we think it’s important that you be able to use it how you want for your personal use. The AmazonMP3 store says: “You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use.” and this is what MP3tunes allows you to do.
You have my commitment that I’ll continually battle for your right to store your music online and listen to it anywhere on any device. I hope you’ll consider helping MP3tunes in our battle. Thanks.
— Michael Robertson