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RIAA counter-sues pernickety Web site over MP3 links

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The dreaded Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed a copyright infringement suit in federal district court in New York against MP3Board.com, a site which provides http and ftp search services for, and direct links to, possibly pirated MP3 files.

"While the Internet and MP3 technology provide budding artists without recording contracts with an inexpensive vehicle for communicating their work to the public, the predominant use of MP3 technology is the trafficking of pirated sound recordings," the RIAA told the court.

MP3Board characterises the RIAA move as mere "procedural gamesmanship" to shift the legal battleground from California, where MP3Board filed a prior suit against the RIAA, to New York, where, presumably, the RIAA would have an easier time at the bar with media-savvy judges.

MP3Board is suing for injunctive relief to block the RIAA's efforts to shut it down, and to rule on the Big Question of whether providing links to possibly pirated material can be construed as copyright infringement.

The MP3Board suit urged the court to specify its liabilities in monitoring its own site for potentially illegal content, and seeks monetary damages for the recording industry's numerous threats.

RIAA lawyers had threatened MP3board's previous hosts, causing it to be chucked twice. When the company recently renewed its site on a new host, the RIAA directed two more letters directly to MP3Board, threatening the company to the effect that if it did not cease operations by 2 June 2000, it would encounter the full force of the RIAA's legal wrath.

The company, apparently, is not impressed. ®

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