Court Finds Madster in Contempt

Johnny Deep and his file-swapping service, Madster, have been found in contempt of court for ignoring a court order to stop offering the service. The company could face up to $51,000 in fines when a hearing is held on Jan. 23.

In early December, a U.S. district court judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Madster to immediately disconnect any computers or services used in connection with file swapping. The TRO was issued to enforce an earlier preliminary injunction already issued against Madster, once known as Aimster before America Online forced Deep to change names because of the similarity with AOL’s instant messenger (AIM) service.

In early November, the court ordered Madster to disable links to copyrighted material as part of a preliminary injunction after the court found that Madster was violating copyright law.

After the November injunction was issued, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), went to court again to complain that Madster was not complying with the injunction, claiming that the service was still advertising $4.95 a month memberships. In a separate action, the RIAA also sought a contempt order against Madster for not complying with the original order.

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