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Friday, 25 May, 2001, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
Music giants sue Aimster
Aimster claims its service is legally sound
The song-swapping service Aimster has become the latest target for music industry heavyweights attempting to stamp out alleged piracy on the net.

Major music companies and several divisions of AOL Time Warner are suing for infringement against the Napster-style service.

Universal Music, Sony Music, EMI Group and BMG have all filed lawsuits in the Federal Court against the download service.

We wanted to sit down with Aimster and try to come up with a resolution of this matter without litigation

Matt Oppenheim, Recording Industry Association of America

Aimster has already filed its own suit against the industry seeking a judgement declaring it is not infringing copyright after it received a "cease and desist" notice from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

'Just like Napster'

Senior vice president of business legal affairs for RIAA, Matt Oppenheim, said: "Aimster is just like Napster. The big difference between the two is that Aimster also allows you to get movies, software and pictures."

The organisation is seeking to bar Aimster users from trading in copyrighted materials.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is considering whether to join the action.

It has already teamed up with the RIAA to file a lawsuit against file-sharing service Scour Inc.

A spokesman for the association said: "We are aware of Aimster and we're looking at all available options."


Mr Oppenheim claims the RIAA has unsuccessfully tried to meet with Aimster.

He said: "We wanted to sit down with Aimster and try to come up with a resolution of this matter without litigation.

"The courts have already made clear that this kind of service will not be tolerated.

"The fact that Aimster cancelled meetings with us and then filed a lawsuit was very disappointing."

Aimster chief executive Johnny Deep has warned any attempt to monitor its service would contradict federal copyright and privacy laws.

The company's defence against infringement is that unlike Napster, the service is for groups of friends on "buddy lists" to swap files.

But Mr Deep admits it is flawed because there is no control over who is using it.

He said: "It's like the post office. They frown on people spamming strangers with junk mail, but they cannot do anything to prevent it."

Aimster is also planning to appeal against a US National Arbitration Forum panel decision ordering it to give up its domain names to AOL Time Warner after finding they violated AOL's trademark on its instant messenger service, which goes by the acronym AIM.

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01 Sep 00 | Sci/Tech
Ready, Aimster, Swap
02 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Radiohead take Aimster
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