RealTime IT News

MP3 Firm Wins Injunction Against Winamp Author

Music technology firm PlayMedia Systems Inc. Tuesday won a preliminary injunction against Nullsoft Inc., maker of the popular Winamp MP3 player, for allegedly stealing PlayMedia's patented decoding technology.

The injunction is to last while the two companies litigate PlayMedia's $20 million lawsuit against Nullsoft, filed March 15. PlayMedia claims that Nullsoft's Nitrane decoder, part of the Winamp MP3 player, was illegally derived from Audio MPEG Player (AMP) technology owned by PlayMedia partner Tomislav Uzelac. It had been licensed to Nullsoft in 1997. Nullsoft argues that Nitrane was developed independent of PlayMedia's product.

The injunction states that Nullsoft is "preliminarily enjoined during the pendency of this action from transferring, distributing, selling, licensing, copying, using, manufacturing or causing or authorizing the transfer, distribution, sale, licensing, copying use or manufacturing of the Nitrane MP3 decoder or the AMP MP3 decoder, whether as a standalone program or as a part of any other product or program, including without limitation, Winamp."

On May 3rd, Nullsoft released version 2.2 of Winamp, in which the Nitrane decoder is replaced by another, the Fraunhoffer MP3 decoder. The company has reportedly denied switching decoders as a result of the lawsuit, claiming it was done for better quality of sound.

The case pending in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

". . .We very much look forward to the time when a Federal jury can hear all the facts and make their own determination of truth and appropriate damages," said Brian D. Litman, PlayMedia's chief executive officer.

Nullsoft could not be reached for comment.