Court Orders Madster to Stop File Swapping

The entertainment industry scored a victory Monday when a U.S. district court judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the peer-to-peer (P2P) service Madster, the file swapping site founded by Johnny Deep. U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Aspen of Chicago ordered Madster to immediately disconnect any computers or services used in connection with file swapping.

The TRO also requires Madster to immediately terminate Internet access to the site, although on Tuesday morning the site was still up and running.

Deep, who is currently without counsel since a disagreement with his lawyers over strategy, had no comment. The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until Dec. 22 or until further order from the court.

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 is also seeking in New York court a contempt order against Madster for not complying with the original order.

“Aimster and John Deep have no excuse for not complying with the court’s November 4th preliminary injunction,” said Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA. “This temporary restraining order will certainly make clear that the infringement must stop immediately, whether that is through Aimster’s actions or actions by its Internet service provider.”

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