Stoppage upheld; damage to biz would be 'irreparable'

An appeals court Monday upheld a preliminary injunction levied against Aimster, dealing the hobbled file-swapper a hefty blow and potentially advancing the music industry’s appeal of another recent copyright case that didn’t go its way.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that the district court injunction, which last year effectively shut down Aimster pending a full trial for contributory infringement, was justified given the potential for harm to the plaintiffs’ copyrights.

“The recording industry’s harm should the preliminary injunction be dissolved would undoubtedly be irreparable,” according to the court’s opinion on Aimster (since renamed Madster), authored by Judge Richard A. Posner.

Ruling could serve as a useful precedent for the Recording Industry Assn. of America in its efforts to reverse a district court ruling this spring that two other file-sharing services, Grokster and Morpheus, were not responsible for infringement happening on their networks.

“A peer-to-peer service is not off the hook simply because it claims there may be legitimate uses of its network,” RIAA prexy Cary Sherman insisted. “When these types of services exist primarily as a vehicle for copyright infringement, they have an obligation to try and reduce the illegal activity occurring on their networks.”

Aimster/Madster founder John Deep was not available for comment.

Even as it continues its legal assault on peer-to-peer networks, the RIAA has begun to step up its efforts to rein in direct copyright infringements. Last week, the trade org said it would begin gathering data on individual file-swappers as a prelude to filing thousands of infringement lawsuits against them.

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