Earlier this year, a group of well-known labels targeted Spinrilla, a popular hip-hop mixtape site and app which serves millions of users.
The coalition of record labels, including Sony Music, Warner Bros. Records, and Universal Music Group, filed a lawsuit against the service over alleged copyright infringements.
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While the discovery process is still ongoing, Spinrilla recently informed the court that the record labels have “just about derailed” the entire case. The company has submitted a motion for sanctions, which is currently sealed, but additional information submitted to the court this week reveals what’s going on.
When the labels filed their original complaint they listed 210 tracks, without providing the allegedly infringing URLs. These weren’t shared during the early stages of the discovery process either, forcing the site to manually search for potentially infringing links.
Then, early October, Spinrilla received a massive spreadsheet with over 2,000 tracks, including the infringing URLs. This data came from the RIAA and supported the long list of infringements in the amended complaint submitted around the same time.
The spreadsheet would have made the discovery process much easier for Spinrilla. In a supplemental brief supporting a motion for sanctions, Spinrilla accuses the labels of hiding the piracy data from them and lying about it, “derailing” the case in the process.
“Significantly, Plaintiffs used that lie to convince the Court they should be allowed to add about 1,900 allegedly infringed sound recordings to their original list of 210. Later, Plaintiffs repeated that lie to convince the Court to give them time to add even more sound recordings to their list.”
Spinrilla says they were forced to go down an expensive and unnecessary rabbit hole to find the infringing files, even though the RIAA data was available all along.
“By hiding and lying about the RIAA data, Plaintiffs forced Defendants to spend precious time and money fumbling through discovery. Not knowing that Plaintiffs had the RIAA data,” the company writes.
The hip-hop mixtape site argues that the alleged wrongdoing is severe enough to have the entire complaint dismissed, as the ultimate sanction.
“It is without exaggeration to say that by hiding the RIAA spreadsheets and that underlying data, Defendants have been severely prejudiced. The Complaint should be dismissed with prejudice and, if it is, Plaintiffs can only blame themselves,” Spinrilla concludes.
The stakes are certainly high in this case. With well over 2,000 infringing tracks listed in the amended complaint, the hip-hop mixtape site faces statutory damages as high as $300 million, at least in theory.
Spinrilla’s supplement brief in further support of the motion for sanctions is available here (pdf).