For many years, Wolfgang’s Vault has been a music lover’s dream. The site collected audio and video of iconic artists as recorded both professionally and from other sources including the collection of Bill Graham, covering a wide variety of genres.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the site did not have the required licenses to stream the music and, while he did not shut it down, he did urge the owners to fix the situation as “licensing hurdles are not insurmountable”.
Unfortunately, whether the owners of the Concert Vault (as it’s now called) can survive is questionable. A trial is coming that will be used to determine the amount of infringement and attempt to assign damages.
A number of rockers, including David Byrne, Keith Richards and Michael Stipe had participated in depositions running up to the ruling and a separate class action suit is currently in the system from numerous different entities.
Attorney’s for Wolfgang’s Vault had argued that, since they had agreements with Warner, Sony and Universal, that they had obtained the proper clearances; however, the judge disagreed, saying that those pacts did not cover the actual artists.
The upcoming trial could be extremely expensive for the Vault owners as, if they are found to have willfully skirted the copyright on the 206 actual performances named in the suit, they could be liable for up to $150,000 in fines for each.