U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff said it was necessary to send a message to the Internetcommunity to deter copyright infringement.

Rakoff said he could have awarded as much as $150,000 per CD but chose a considerablysmaller amount, in part because MP3.com had acted more responsibly than other Internet startups.

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record company, had urged a stiff penalty in the closely watched case.

“Music is a media and the next infringement may be very different,” said Universal lawyer Hadrian Katz. “It may be video or it may be film or it may be books or it may be something very different.”

Katz had urged the judge to award the record company up to $450 million because MP3.com had copied 5,000 to 10,000 of the company’s CDs.

The lawyer said such a penalty would cost MP3.com as much as $3.6 billion once the company was forced to pay all the other companies whose copyrights it had violated when it created an online catalog of 80,000 CDs.