RealTime IT News

MP3.com Sues RIAA

In what has become a legal game of tit-for-tat, MP3.com Inc. Tuesday announced it has filed a countersuit against Recording Industry Association of America for alleged unfair business practices.

The complaint, which also singles out RIAA President and Chief Executive Officer Hilary Rosen, was filed in San Diego Superior Court late Monday.

"Since inception, MP3.com (MPPP) has faced the increasingly aggressive tactics of the RIAA and its leadership," said Michael Robertson, chairman and chief executive officer of MP3.com.

"We have recently learned that Hilary Rosen was speaking to equity analysts about the RIAA's New York lawsuit three days before it was filed. While she was doing this, her lawyers were at MP3.com learning about our My.MP3.com technology. The next day I met with her in Washington to engage in an open discussion about business models for bridging our respective interests. Little did I know that she was more concerned about talking to equity analysts about our stock price."

RIAA spokespeople could not be reached for comment.

The legal battle between the two groups began three weeks ago when the RIAA filed suit at the U.S. District Court in New York against MP3 accusing it of violating copyrights when it introduced a new feature that allows users to share music using a customized version of MP3.com. The RIAA also accused MP3 of illegally compiling an online library of more than 40,000 copyrighted albums.

At the heart of the dispute are new features unveiled as part of the My.MP3.com personalization initiative that allows users to make digital copies of existing CDs as well as CDs purchased from MP3.com partners. While MP3.com said it takes steps to verify the CDs being copied are legally owned, the RIAA said the company is making unauthorized copies of copyrighted music.