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MP3’s Vast latest single

Site, Elektra team to e-mail customers

Embattled online music site MP3.com announced a new scheme Thursday to stream songs to users via geographically targeted e-mails as its team of attorneys took a breather from its copyright trial vs. Universal Music Group in a Gotham court.

San Diego-based MP3 said it will team with Elektra Entertainment, a unit of its former legal foe Warner Music Group, to ship full-length radio singles from Elektra band Vast to Netizens in geographic areas where the song is also in heavy radio rotation.

The MP3-formatted songs will also come with links to sites for the artist and label, as well as connections to label-approved e-tailers from whom customers can buy the track online.

Meanwhile, MP3.com defense attorneys have labored all week to convince Federal District Judge Jed Rakoff that the company didn’t act willfully when it downloaded some 80,000 CDs onto its servers as part of its My.MP3.com service without asking the labels’ permission.

The courtroom was dark on Thursday, but proceedings will resume after Labor Day. According to the judge’s office, Rakoff is likely to rule as early as Wednesday on the willfulness issue. He will also consider the extent to which the damage award should act as a deterrent to future online pirates.

Rakoff’s decisions on those two issues could determine per-CD damages ranging from $200 to $150,000.

MP3.com has approached Universal execs repeatedly over the past few weeks about a settlement, according to testimony late Wednesday by MP3 prexy Robin Richards, but so far to no avail.

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