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MP3BOARD JOINS GROWING NUMBER OF LITIGATORS

Hyperlinks Make RIAA Hyper
Online music site MP3Board has filed a federal lawsuit saying it has a right to post links to MP3 files that violate copyrights.

In March, National Record Mart agreed to acquire MP3Board, but did not specify the financial details of the deal. Now the Santa Cruz, Calif.-based company has filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Jose, asking that a judge rule that it is within its rights to post links to sites that distribute illegally reproduced MP3 copies of copyright protected music.

"This action seeks to declare that hypertext linking, created by automated processes, from one site on the World Wide Web to another does not constitute infringement even if the destination of a hypertext link is to a web site containing materials that infringe upon intellectual property rights," the lawsuit said.

MP3Board attorney Ira Rothken said the company filed the lawsuit to prevent the Recording Industry Association of America, from "paralyzing" the Internet to protect its copyrights.

The lawsuit also requests unspecified monetary damages for the RIAA's role in having MP3Board shut down for five days by its Internet service provider, Metromedia Fiber Network. The RIAA sent a notice to Metromedia on April 18 demanding that MP3Board be removed from its system because of links to copyright infringing material; Metromedia complied with the letter but restored service to MP3Board five days later, according to the suit.

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