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Wednesday, 9 May, 2001, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
MP3.com sued for $40m
My.MP3.com user
My.MP3.com allows access a huge song database
Songwriters Randy Newman, Tom Waits and Ann and Nancy Wilson of the rock band Heart are suing internet music service MP3.com for $40.5m (27m).

Despite previous agreements between MP3.com and the music industry, the songwriters allege that the music website illegally gives listeners access to their songs through the My.Mp3.com service.


More successful songwriters of this calibre need to stand up against copyright infringement

Attorney Bruce Van Dalsem
The songwriters are challenging the system by which a database of songs can be made available for listening to anyone who "proves" ownership of the music by briefly inserting the relevant compact disc into a computer.

Newman, Waits and the Wilson sisters claim about 270 songs are illegally available through the service and are asking for the maximum penalty of $150,000 (100,000) for each song.

The songwriters, who own the copyrights to their songs, claim that works such as Downtown Train by Waits, Barracuda by Heart and Newman's hits I Love LA and Short People were illegally copied onto MP3.com's computers to make them available for listening.

Copyrights

In November 2000 MP3.com concluded a series of agreements with the five music majors by reaching a deal with Universal, having already agreed a settlement with the National Music Publishers' Association.

But much of the music distributed by the major record labels involves song copyrights published and administered by other companies, who may not be a party to the broader agreements so far reached with MP3.com.

The songwriters' attorney Bruce Van Dalsem said: "More successful songwriters of this calibre need to stand up against copyright infringement in order to protect their own rights, and discourage the theft of music written by lesser-known artists who cannot afford to protect their smaller catalogues of work."

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See also:

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MP3.com settles suit
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