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Ozzy Osbourne to bite head off Net media co.

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Bat biter Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera and seven other metal bands are together suing a trio of media companies, including online video company MCY, for broadcasting bootlegged concert footage.

MCY was granted permission to tape the gigs - last summer's Ozzfest 2000 tour - specifically for broadcast across the Internet. Its crime, in the eyes of the bands' managers and the tour organisers, was to sub-license the Web cast to DirecTV and InDemand for televisual broadcasting.

The bands claim to be shocked at the poor quality of the footage, but we suspect the fact that they didn't make any money out of the broadcast - provided on a pay-per-view basis - has more to do with it. Oz and co. also claim copyright infringement, trademark dilution and infringement, unlawful appropriation of names and likenesses, irreparable damage to reputation, and violation of the bands artistic vision and creative control over the tour.

MCY does seem on a sticky wicket here. The Ozzfest organisers even asked it to prevent the pay-per-view broadcast, but it ignored them, they claim. Indeed, the suit alleges MCY CEO Larry Stessel told them - in, it has to be said, a rare case of dotcom realpolitik - "Sue me, I don't care. I'd rather be sued by the bands than DirecTV and InDemand - they have more money. By the time this suit comes to court, MCY will probably be out of business anyway."

DirecTV and InDemand said they would broadcast the event, since they had a good-faith agreement with MCY to do so. The concert broadcast went ahead on 10 November.

MCY is apparently still operational, though we couldn't get beyond its Web site's 'you don't have the right plug-in' message to learn more. ®

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