View Full Version : Record labels sue Web heavyweights

08-18-2002, 06:24 PM
By Reuters
August 16, 2002, 4:38 PM PT

The world's largest record companies sued a number of major Internet service and network providers on Friday, alleging their routing systems allow users to access a China-based Web site and unlawfully copy musical recordings.

The copyright-infringement suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks a court order requiring the defendants to block Internet communications that travel through their systems to and from the Listen4ever site. The suit says the plaintiffs have not been able to determine who owns the Web site.

Plaintiffs in the suit include such major labels as UMG Recordings, a unit of Vivendi Universal; Sony Music Entertainment, a unit of Sony; the RCA Records Label, a unit of Bertelsmann's BMG; and Warner Bros. Records, a unit of AOL Time Warner.

Defendants in the suit are AT&T Broadband, a unit of AT&T; Cable & Wireless, a unit of Cable & Wireless; Sprint; Advanced Network Services; and UUNet Technologies, a unit of WorldCom.

The suit alleges that the Listen4ever site enables Internet users to download music from a centralized location containing thousands of files. This allows them to make unlawful copies of as many recordings as they choose.

The plaintiffs also say that Listen4ever uses offshore servers located in the People's Republic of China to host the Web site through which the illegal copying occurs. They claim that Listen4ever provides its services to Internet users in the United States through backbone routers owned and operated by the defendants.

According to the suit, the artists whose works are being unlawfully copied and distributed through Listen4ever are: Christina Aguilera, Bruce Springsteen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Clapton, Barbara Streisand, Lenny Kravitz and Whitney Houston.

The Listen4ever site also features albums that have not yet been commercially released, say the plaintiffs. For instance, they claim that the most recent album by artist Mary J. Blige, "Dance for Me," was available on the site before it was released to stores on Aug. 13.

The suit states that the Listen4ever operators seem to be based in China. However, the plaintiffs said that "strikingly absent" from the site is any indication of the persons or entity who owns it.

The recording companies said the only information they have been able to find is that the domain name appears to have been registered to an individual in Tianjin, China. Even the site's links for contacting operators sends e-mail to an anonymous Yahoo e-mail account.

The suit states that despite Listen4ever's connections to China, the site uses a U.S. domain name, is written entirely in English, appears to target an American audience by focusing on U.S. works, and does not appear to feature Chinese music.

"Listen4ever has clearly located itself in China to avoid the ambit of United States copyright law," the suit said.

The suit is the latest in a long-term attack by record labels on Web sites and services that allow trading of digital music files. Such offerings, like Napster and Scour, have been hit with massive lawsuits claiming billions of dollars in damages for copyright violation.

The labels have blamed weak sales and lower profits on file-sharing, and the music business has, over the last year, started making its own heavy forays into digital music as a way to try and capture some of the cost savings of online distribution while still generating revenue for its works.

Grabbed from http://news.com.com/2100-1023-954176.html?tag=fd_top

Looks like there is no limit to the record labels insane and insatiable desire to control society.

08-19-2002, 08:40 PM
The funny thing is they can never win. No one can control the internet. No one can beat the internet.

08-20-2002, 03:42 AM
If only.

The sad thing about this is that there will be a mediated and controlled network. See it happen within 5 years. We live in an utopian belief that eventually it will all be fixed and the net shall be free for ever and ever, but the sad truth is that is about to be controlled, harnessed and moderated.

Microsoft is making sure this happens with TCPA and Palladium, though it is argued that the net int he future will consist of different TCPAs, unlike today where it is one huge unmoderated garage sale mammoth.

While to most of us geeks the concept of having everything moderated is a nightmare, your normal users will embrace TCPA systems, because they will be virus-free, spam-free, they will ahve access to all the copyrighted materials and state of the art contents obtainable vial legal means, and they will navigate in a safer network - simply because it will be more strictly controlled. Another net on top of the current one will be developed, while the minority of today's net geeks and open-source anarchy loving net freaks will thrive in another sector of the net, though we will be a minority. In the long run, TCPA and Palladium will win and get what they want.

If you are interested on educating yourself on the subject, check the following articles: