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OLD-TIMERS SUE MP3.COM FOR INFRINGEMENT

Chambers Brothers, Coasters And Original Drifters Seek Royalties
MP3.com and several record labels were sued in federal court Thursday by musicians who seek royalty payments for the distribution of their songs over the Internet.

The suit, filed members of the Chambers Brothers, the Coasters and the Original Drifters, seeks a ruling that neither MP3.com nor the record labels, including Time Warner and Sony Corp. of America among others, have the right to transmit their songs over the Internet.

The lawsuit comes nearly four months after the Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group representing the record labels sued MP3.com for distributing songs online.

Lawrence Feldman, a lawyer who brought the case, said the record labels' case protects the rights of only record companies not artists.

"This is the first (case) where musicians have sued in their own name," Feldman said. "Remember the musicians."

The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of other artists who have recorded records or CDs before 1995, when Congress passed a new digital copyright law.

The lawsuit centers on the activities of MP3.com. The San Diego-based company is alleged to have infringed the copyrights on 45,000 recordings by digitally copying the tracks and allowing computer users to download them.

In its suit, the RIAA said MP3.com is violating copyright laws. On the heels of that case, which is slated for a summary judgment today, the musicians are seeking a declaration that neither MP3.com nor the record labels have a right to transmit the recordings.

The musicians say the Internet transmission of their songs denies them royalty payments they are due under their record contracts.

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