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MP3.com vs. The Little Guys

[SOUTH AFRICA] Breathing easy after settling with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), MP3.com relaunched its MyMP3 service -- only to find a suit brought against it by several independent music labels.

The pack was led by Emusic, joined by Fearless Records, Fuel 2000, Gig Records, Invisible Records, SpinART Records and Victory Records. A statement from the company says that it expects more of its partner-labels to join them in the future. The group filed a copyright infringement suit against MP3.com in the United States District Court of the District of New York.

"Although MP3.com has entered into settlement agreements with the five major record labels, they have chosen to ignore their infringing actions with respect to independent record labels," said Gene Hoffman, EMusic president and CEO. "EMusic strongly supports the rights of music fans to have access to convenient, inexpensive digital music -- as well as the rights of all labels and artists to choose how and where their music is used."

The My.MP3.com service allows users to upload CDs to the Internet and then stream that music --and music from MP3.com's database- live to Internet-enabled devices. EMusic says that it owns the rights to 130 000 records from 600 different labels and knows that MP3.com's service is providing access to proprietary music, although it's not aware of the extent of the infringement.

The suit comes a month after the resumption of the service. MP3 com settled with the RIAA on November 17, after refusing users access from May 10 when the initial lawsuit was launched.