Muxtape Ignored Copyright Law, Says RIAA, But Site May Have Grounds To Fight Shutdown

Streaming mixtape site may be protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

One day after the popular mixtape uploading site Muxtape suddenly went down due to what it said was a "problem" with the Recording Industry Association of America, the industry lobbying group revealed that it had been keeping an eye on the site since its launch earlier this year.

"For the past several months, we have communicated concerns to Muxtape on behalf of our members," read a statement from the RIAA issued on Tuesday. "Muxtape has not yet obtained authorization from our member companies to host or stream copies of their sound recordings."

The trade group issued a slightly longer and more detailed explanation to Portfolio magazine, which explained that in addition to communicating their legal concerns over the past few months, the RIAA "repeatedly" tried to work with Muxtape to have illegal content taken down. "Muxtape was hosting copies of copyrighted sound recordings without authorization from the copyright owners. Making these recordings available for streaming playback also requires authorization from the copyright owners."

In the meantime, Fred Von Lohmann, a senior intellectual property attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation told that he believes Muxtape could be on pretty steady legal grounds if it decides to fight the shutdown order from the RIAA. Von Lohmann said the site is protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which provides "safe harbor" for sites that host material on behalf of users, which is the same defense used by sites like YouTube.

"I think they have a strong legal defense," Von Lohmann said. "The problem is if they might not have that money to go to court and take on the RIAA." The lawyer speculated that legal fees for such a case could be in the range of $2-$3 million.