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Judge Calls MP3.com Copyright Defense 'Frivolous'

May 05, 2000|From Bloomberg News

NEW YORK — MP3.com Inc. is using "indefensible" and "frivolous" arguments to justify its online distribution of copyrighted music, a federal judge said Thursday in a decision explaining last week's ruling that MP3.com had infringed record company copyrights.

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled Friday that San Diego-based MP3.com had infringed the record labels' copyrights by transmitting, for free, tens of thousands of songs to computer users who subscribe to the company's "My.MP3.com" service.

Rakoff said MP3.com "is replaying for the subscribers converted versions of the recordings it copied, without authorization, from plaintiffs' copyrighted CDs. On its face, this makes out a presumptive case of infringement."

The judge also said MP3.com's fair-use defense is "indefensible." In addition, he called other MP3.com arguments "frivolous," including its claim that it was protecting the record companies from music pirates.

The lawsuit, filed by the Recording Industry Assn. of America in January, seeks billions of dollars in damages and an order stopping MP3.com from transmitting copyrighted music over the Internet.

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