U.S. District Court Orders Spinrilla to Pay $50 Million for Copyright Infringement
The U.S. District Court in Georgia has ordered hip-hop mixtape site Spinrilla and its founder Jeffery Copeland to pay Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music, and others $50 million for copyright infringement related to the streaming and downloading of thousands of songs by Bob Marley, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and more, according to a settlement agreement.
According to the settlement agreement, Jeffery has been permanently banned from operating Spinrilla or any other website, platform, or similar projects anywhere in the world.
The six-year-old lawsuit was filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on behalf of UMG, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Bros Records, Atlantic Recording Corporation and LaFace Records, and the settlement was reached this week. According to the lawsuit, Spinrilla and Copeland were allegedly facilitating the streaming and downloading of unlicensed content to users.
Copeland founded Spinrilla in early 2013 as an app for approved users to listen to and discover ‘independent and emerging hip-hop artists.’
When the music industry filed its lawsuit, Spinrilla had 19 million users, including 14,000 who could upload content to the platform, and around 1.4 million songs available on the platform.
As the case progressed both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The music companies requested rulings to establish that Spinrilla is liable for direct copyright infringement and that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 1998 (DMCA) safe harbor does not apply. Spinrilla countered with cross-motions, filed under seal, in which they argued the opposite.
During the hearing, RIAA contended that it had identified more than 4,000 songs by Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and others that were infringed, further in late 2020, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg held, Spinrilla liable for copyright infringement. In her ruling, Judge Totenberg concluded that 4,082 copyrighted sound recordings were streamed at least once through Sprinrilla’s website or app.
As part of the agreement, Spinrilla will transfer the domain name for its service to the music industry companies, which they have agreed not to use.
The judgment reads, “Judgment shall be entered in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendants jointly and severally in the amount of $50,000,000, inclusive of any recoverable costs and attorneys’ fees.”