RIAA Files Copyright Suit Against MP3.com

Online music provider MP3.com, Inc. (Nasdaq:MPPP) has been slapped with a copyright lawsuit initiated by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the company confirmed Friday.

An MP3.com statement said the firm had been served with a complaint for copyright infringement brought by RIAA in New York federal court.

The lawsuit reportedly contends that MP3.com’s use of downloadable music is unauthorized because the provider does not own the property and is offering it without permission.

Instant Listening Service and Beam-it Program

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that MP3.com’s Instant Listening Service and Beam-it violate copyright laws, according to a report by the Associated Press. The Instant Listening Service lets online consumers hear a CD once they have purchased it, while the Beam-it program allows users to add their own CDs to their personal online playlist, the report said.

An official statement by MP3 CEO Michael Robertson declared, “On behalf of consumers, we are disappointed that the positive benefits and security features of our newly upgraded My.MP3.com service are misunderstood by the RIAA and its member companies. My.MP3.com provides more choices for consumers to do what they want with the music they already own. Our technology also empowers artists to communicate directly with their fan base. We believe My.MP3.com will stimulate CD sales and expand the music industry overall.”

However, RIAA executive Cary Sherman told the AP, “This is a blatant infringement of rights, upsetting not only to record labels, but also large numbers of artists, retailers and technology companies who have business agreements with copyright owners.”

Robertson asserted that his company plans, “to defend this suit vigorously through the courts. We have every intention of fighting this to the court of last resort, if necessary.”

Robertson responded to an open letter issued by the RIAA on the company Web site.

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