Just one month after MP3.com brought to aclose its costly legal contest with industry giant Universal Music Group,the online music service has been hit by a copyright infringementlawsuit by Internet subscription site EMusic.
The action charges MP3.com and its streaming service MyMP3.com withillegally offering an indeterminate number of albums to which EMusic holdsthe exclusive digital rights. In a statement issued Tuesday, EMusic saidthat it has secured the online rights to roughly 13,000 albums from over 600record labels but was unable to determine at this time how many albums areaffected by the suit.
MP3.com has not publicly responded to the charges.
“Although MP3.com has entered into settlement agreements with the five majorrecord labels, they have chosen to ignore their infringing actions withrespect to independent record labels,” said EMusic president and CEO GeneHoffman.
“EMusic strongly supports the rights of music fans to have access toconvenient, inexpensive digital music — as well as the rights of all labelsand artists to choose how and where their music is used,” Hoffman added.
Labels Join Complaint
EMusic’s complaint has been filed with the U.S. District Court for theSouthern District of New York.
The company said six of its independent partner labels — Fearless Records, Fuel2000 Records, Gig Records, Invisible Records, SpinART Records and VictoryRecords — have joined the suit has well. from user subscription feeson a quarterly basis. The funds are distributed in relation to thenumber of downloads registered during the time period.
In recent weeks, EMusic has worked aggressively to curb the use of files inits catalog.
Last month, the company launched an initiative to prevent what it called the”illegal distribution” of its songs on controversial file-swapping serviceNapster. As part of its plan, EMusicbegan utilizing “acoustic fingerprinting” technology that will detect songson Napster that originated from EMusic and identify the Napster user who isdistributing the infringing songs.
If the user does not stop distributing the track, EMusic will contactNapster and ask that the account be blocked.
Never Ending Story
For its part, MP3.com has worked to move beyond its legal woes, settlingcopyright infringement lawsuits with the recording industry’s largestlabels. Earlier this month, the company launched its own fee-based musicsharing service after brokering licensing agreements with Sony, BMG, Warnerand EMI.
Although MP3.com thought the subscription-based service put it on the pathto industry-recognized legitimacy, in November the company was hit withanother class-action suit.
Brought by Unity Entertainment and others, theaction charges MP3.com with copyright infringement.