RIAA sues music-download site MP3Board

Music group seeks links' removal and damages for each available song

The Recording Industry Assn. of America, which reps all the major labels, has filed a copyright infringement suit against Bakersfield, Calif.-based MP3Board Inc.

In its suit, filed in New York federal court on Friday, the RIAA attempts to prevent the MP3Board.com Web site from linking users to sites that contain unauthorized copies of the labels’ copyright-protected music, which users can download for free. MP3Board.com is the second-most heavily trafficked Web site for downloading music.

RIAA suit seeks removal of the links and up to $150,000 in damages for every song available, adding that the company is knowingly violating copyright laws, as it posts songs under the heading “SuperIllegal MP3z.”

MP3Board’s defense is that its site contains no MP3 files. Instead, it provides search engines that locate these files. MP3Board attorney Ira Rothken noted that posting hyperlinks isn’t the same as posting copies.

Earlier this month, MP3Board filed a federal suit seeking to prevent the RIAA from shuttering its Web site.

While the RIAA has already won a suit against unrelated site MP3.com, the issues in this case are closer to those in the RIAA’s pending suit against Napster, which provides file-sharing software that enables users to easily access unauthorized MP3 files.

Trial date in the latter case is set for July 26, although settlement talks are said to be under way (Daily Variety, June 14).

MP3Board agreed to be purchased by brick-and-mortar music retail giant National Record Mart back in March.

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