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Contempt Motion Filed on Madster

November 22, 2002|Jon Healey | Times Staff Writer

A group of record companies and music publishers has asked a federal judge to hold the Madster online file-sharing system in contempt of court for allegedly failing to halt piracy.

The motion, filed late Wednesday, came a week after Madster told U.S. District Judge Marvin E. Aspen in Chicago that it was "impractical" to comply with a pretrial injunction he issued last month to stop copyright infringement.

The labels and publishers asked Aspen to appoint someone to shut down Madster until it complies with the order and to cut off the estimated $45,000 per month that Troy, N.Y.-based Madster collects from its users.

Originally known as Aimster, Madster enables users to find and copy digital music, movies and other files on one another's computers free.

Like the pioneering file-sharing service from Napster Inc., Madster eventually was sued for copyright infringement by the major record labels, music publishers and movie studios.

The plaintiffs want Madster to filter copyrighted works out of its file-sharing system, as a federal judge in San Francisco required Napster to do last year. In the meantime, they want Madster to pull the plug on the computers that they say are critical to the system's operation.

The motion by the labels and publishers accuses Madster of taking no steps at all to comply with the injunction. If the motion is granted, Madster would be compelled to show Aspen why it should not be found in con- tempt.

Madster creator John Deep could not be reached for comment. He said this month that he couldn't control what users share but that he was developing software that users could employ voluntarily to protect copyrighted songs and movies.

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