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Canadian music giant funds battle against RIAA

Lawsuits should be shield not sword

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Canada's biggest record label, publisher and management company is helping out a family sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)for copyright infringement.

The privately-owned Nettwerk Music Group is intervening, it says, because the songs downloaded by the Gruebel family include Avril Lavigne, a Nettwerk management client. Nettwerk will fund the Gruebel's defense.

"The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests," said Nettwerk chief executive Terry McBride in a statement.

"Litigation is not 'artist development'. Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love."

Chicago lawyer Charles Lee Mudd will defend the Gruebels.

Mudd said the RIAA has "misapplied" the law and that lawsuits should be a "shield, not a sword".

The RIAA has demanded the family pay a $9,000 penalty, reduced to $4,500 if they pay up promptly. Nettwerk has vowed to foot the legal bill if it loses the case. ®

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