TOLEDO, Ohio — Four major record companies violated antitrust laws by threatening to withhold business from stores that sell used compact discs, a federal lawsuit claims.CEMA Distributors, Sony Music Distributors, UNI Distribution Corp. and Warner Electra Atlantic Corp. were sued Friday. The companies account for 65% of all CDs and cassettes sold in the U.S. Fun, Beat file suit Nothing Beats Fun Inc. of Toledo and Repeat the Beat Inc. of Birmingham, Mich., filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit said the defendants were withholding advertising and promotion money to retailers that sell used CDs. The lawsuit also claims CEMA would not supply an upcoming album by country artist Garth Brooks to stores that sell used CDs, and the other companies said they might follow CEMA’s lead. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and a change in the companies’ policies. A trial date has not been scheduled. Telephone messages left at Sony’s headquarters in New York; Time Warner in New York, which is Warner’s parent company; and UNI offices in Universal City were not immediately returned.
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