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Indie label sues MP3.com for copyright theft

Net music company seen as soft touch after RIAA verdict?

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Internet music company MP3.com is once again being sued for copyright infringement, though this time the word 'copycat' is probably more appropriate than 'copyright'.

Having been successfully sued by the world's well-known major recording companies under the auspices of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), MP3.com now faces similar action from a heap of indie labels few people have ever heard of.

First up is New York-based Tee Vee Toons (TVT), which wants MP3.com to remove any of its tracks from the Net company's MyMP3.com 'virtual Walkman' service database. But you can expect more of these tiny labels to do the same, at least according to TVT's lawyer, Michael Elkin.

It's hard not to see the action as a cynical attempt to kick a company when it's down. Having lost one, major copyright infringement case, it's not surprising that MP3.com would face similar actions now that a positive outcome (for the plaintiff) can be seen as a safe bet. That said, there can't be that many TVT tunes in the MyMP3.com database, so the company may find it hard to win anything more than an assurance that MP3.com will remove said tracks from its servers.

Unless TVT is feeling particularly aggressive, MP3.com will probably agree to settle out of court and pull the allegedly infringing tracks. If TVT then pursues the action, seeking damages, it will become clear to all observers that it's in it for the money as much as copyright justice. ®

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