Merlin settles with Limewire torrent site out of court

Global independent music rights agency Merlin has settled a mammoth copyright infringement claim on behalf of its members against the now defunct torrent service LimeWire – and is thought to have received a payout between $5m and $15m.

The settlement was reached out-of-court subsequent to a lawsuit filed by Merlin in July 2011. Merlin’s settlement follows the major record labels’ announcement that they reached a $105 million out-of-court settlement with LimeWire in May 2011.Merlin will pay out the proceeds of the settlement to its members shortly.

The news comes six years after P2P filesharing site Kazaa was ordered to pay $115m in damages to the major record labels  – Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group – but the indies didn’t receieve a penny. Merlin was formed in 2008.

Labels such as Epitaph,Merge,Warp, Yep Roc/Redeye, Naïve, Naxos, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian, Kontor, Secretly Canadian, Beggars Group, [PIAS] Group,!K7, Sub Pop, Domino and Koch/E1 are all members of Merlin.

Said Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO: “It is deeply satisfying to announce this settlement today. The exclusion of independents from past major settlements such as Kazaa was a key factor in the formation of Merlin, and I am proud to say that this time, via the actions of Merlin, our members’rights have been properly protected. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that the labels we represent are never again left out in the cold”.

Said Charlie Lexton, Merlin Head of Business Affairs & General Counsel: “Whilst this is by no means the first settlement Merlin has delivered its members, it is clearly the most significant, representing as it does, thesuccessful conclusion ofa high profile, large scale, globalcopyright infringement claimon an equal footing with the major labels. An unprecedented moment for independents”.

Said Martin Mills, Merlin Chairman (pictured): “Following on the heels of what happened, or didn’t happen, with Kazaa, this is a brilliant and fair result for Merlin’s members collectively that could never have been achieved individually, and a great tribute to Merlin”Music Business Worldwide

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