RealTime IT News

MP3 Firm PlayMedia Sues WinAmp Maker

PlayMedia Systems Inc., an MP3 music technology firm, Monday sued Nullsoft Inc., makers of the popular WinAmp MP3 player.

PlayMedia alleges that technology in Nullsoft's WinAmp was taken from PlayMedia's AMP Audio MPEG Player. The company said Nullsoft attempted to obtain a license to use the technology in its software early last year, although an agreement was never reached. Nullsoft maintains that WinAmp no longer contains any AMP Code.

PlayMedia is asking for more than $20 million in damages and for a permanent injunction against Nullsoft in the copyright suit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

"We regret that we had no choice but to file this action. Copyright law requires us to be vigilant in protecting our intellectual property and efforts to remedy the situation directly with Nullsoft were to no avail," said Brian Litman, PlayMedia's chief executive officer.

"I want to be clear that this suit has nothing to do with MP3's intrinsic legitimacy as a format for the playback and enjoyment of music. The copyright we allege is being infringed is that of our computer code, not anyone else's music."

In a statement, Nullsoft said the lawsuit is without merit. The company said it plans to vigorously defend itself and WinAmp creator Justin Frankel.

"While it is true that WinAmp initially licensed code for the decoding of MPEG audio files from Tomislav Uzelac, this code was replaced with proprietary code developed by Nullsoft as of June 1998," the company said.

Nullsoft also said it plans to pursue legal action against PlayMedia for false statements its representatives have made about Nullsoft.