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"This case is about copyright owners taking responsibility for their own policing. Without sites like MP3Board, (record companies) would not be able to police their own content."
—MP3Board attorney Ira Rothken

MP3BOARD TAKES STAND
AGAINST RIAA

Web Site Urges Court: "Don't Hate The Playa,
Hate The Game"
MP3Board Inc. filed a countersuit Tuesday (7/18) against the Recording Industry Association of America for helping to shut down its Web sites.

The countersuit seeks a declaration from the court that linking to other Web sites and files does not constitute copyright infringement even if the destination has infringing content. It comes in response to a suit filed late last month in Manhattan Federal court by RIAA-member companies BMG, Sony Music and Warner Music Group to stop MP3Board Inc. from linking users to pirated copies of their copyright-protected music.

MP3Board attorney Ira Rothken said the RIAA succeeded in temporarily shutting down MP3Board's Web site for five days in April by threatening its Web hosting company, Abovenet, with a copyright infringement suit for allowing MP3Board to use its services. On June 5, the company filed a suit in San Jose, CA federal court to prevent the RIAA from shutting down its Web site.

The site itself does not contain MP3 files, but provides search engines to help users find MP3 and music-related content on the Internet. MP3Board also has a Web interface to a Gnutella search engine, which plugs into individual computers to look inside private music collections and allows Web site owners to submit their own addresses for inclusion in its search engine.

Rothken maintains MP3Board should not be held responsible for infringing content because of any of these offerings, rather, that responsibility lies with the sites they link to that are making the content available as well as the people downloading the songs who are making copies.

"This case is about copyright owners taking responsibility for their own policing," said Rothken. "Without sites like MP3Board, (record companies) would not be able to police their own content."

MP3Board is taking some steps toward industry atonement. The company is developing an automated system through which content owners can tell a Web site it is linking to unauthorized content. A voice will alert users they're being "naughty little Web surfers." It will also provide cyber-spankings for repeat offenders.

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