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Ruling in MP3Board Suit Favors Music Industry

Copyright: '' operator had sought to protect its practice of offering links to song sites.

October 19, 2000|From Bloomberg News

SAN JOSE — A federal judge rejected a lawsuit by MP3Board Inc. that sought to protect its practice of offering Internet links to Web sites that may carry pirated music files.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte's dismissal of the suit hands the recording industry a victory in its battle to control online music distribution. MP3Board operates a Web site that posts links to some of the most commercially successful recordings in the world.

The company is facing a separate suit in New York brought by 13 record companies that allege MP3Board encourages copyright infringement. Whyte's decision comes as the industry faces the risk of losing billions in sales to Internet technologies such as Napster Inc.'s song-swapping program.

Unlike Napster, MP3Board doesn't offer software that lets computer users exchange music files. Instead, MP3Board indexes and posts links to other Web sites where songs can be found.

MP3Board had sued the Recording Industry Assn. of America in June, seeking a court order declaring that providing links does not violate copyright law--even if pirated works are involved. That move came in anticipation of the New York lawsuit, filed by companies such as Sony Corp. and Time Warner Inc.

MP3Board, like Napster, has accused the record industry of trying to stifle emerging technology and keep near-monopolistic control over music production and distribution.

When MP3Board filed its California suit, legal experts said the case could carry broad implications for other online search engines such as Yahoo Inc., since MP3Board's potential liability arises from providing links to copyright material using an automated Web search.

Attorneys in the San Jose case could not be reached for comment on Whyte's Sept. 27 decision.

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