By Robert Menta - 7/04/01
Another day, another Net music lawsuit. This time it is the major motion picture companies that are getting into the act as they bring suit against file trading program Aimster.
Alleging copyright infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition, the suit seeks $150,000 in damages for each copyrighted work distributed over Aimster. The suit, filed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), names Aimster parent company AbovePeer, BuddyUSA, and personally names Aimster CEO John Deep as a defendant. Studios represented in the suit include Columbia, Disney, MGM, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal City Studios. Waner Bros. also filed suit against Aimster, but separately.
Aimster is already in legal battle against the major record labels who have successfully used the cost of litigation to sap the limited finances of other Net music startups. The lawsuit from the movie industry further puts pressure on Aimster, which claims it is a private network and therefore operating legally under federal copyright law. The company will now have to prove that in two courts of law in two states.
That's because Aimster struck first against the record industry, accepting the inevitable and suing first to keep the trial in the company's native Albany NY. Not looking to open another front against Hollywood, the company didn't make the first move against the movie industry.
The movie industry opened that front for them and the result is this trial will occur on their home turf and under California law. The trial will be held in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California where the action was filed.
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