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MP3Board Files Counter Claim Against the RIAA

MP3Board, Inc. has filed a counterclaim in Federal Court in New York, seeking a remedy against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for its role in temporarily shutting down the mp3board.com Web site for providing hyperlinks to other web sites, pages and files the RIAA considers infringing.

The counterclaim also seeks a declaration from the Court that mere hyperlinking to other publicly accessible web sites and files, created by automated processes, does not constitute direct or contributory copyright infringement even if the destination of a hyperlink is a Web site, page or file containing infringing content.

The suit alleges that the MP3Board.com site assists Web users in locating music related Web sites, pages, and files, including the popular "mp3" type files. The MP3Board site includes automated hyperlink lists and search engines that seek out and index massive amounts of mp3 and music related content on the Internet. The suit alleges that MP3Board does not store on its Web site any MP3 files -- such files are only available by visiting other sites not owned by MP3Board.

"The ratio of legal to illegal music files pointed to by MP3Board's automated links mirrors the state of Internet as a whole. It is up to the RIAA and its members to take steps to shift the legal music file ratio in their favor -- rather than attacking MP3Board which has no MP3 files, they should be going after the entities that house the actual files...mere linking alone, arising out of automated processes, is not direct or contributory copyright infringement," said Ira Rothken, MP3Board's attorney.

"While we do not believe that we have any duty at all under the law to edit hyperlinks arising out of automated processes, we understand that in a general sense a certain percentage of music files on the Internet are infringing," said Lars Mapstead, CEO of MP3Board, Inc. "In light of that, and in light of our desire to use Internet technology to provide innovative indexing tools while protecting copyrights, MP3Board is in the process of developing a new digital rights technology that will assist copyright owners, like the RIAA's members, in automating the link searching and removal process, while reducing the burden on automated indexing systems like MP3Board.com.

"MP3Board's digital rights technology will first be made available on mp3board.com but it will ultimately be made available to copyright owners to probe almost any Internet site for links and files and, consistent with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, automate the removal of such links and files. No longer will crates of paper affidavits be required like in the Napster - Metallica situation. We are hopeful that other indexing and linking sites will follow our lead and automate the Copyright protection and link removal process."

"We are hopeful that the RIAA and its members, and for that matter all copyright owners, will see MP3Board's digital rights technology as a fair balance between copyright protection and the power of new Internet indexing tools," said Rothken. "This technology shifts the burden back where it belongs -- it is up to copyright owners to use intimate knowledge of their works and new indexing tools, like mp3board.com, to police their own intellectual property on the Internet."