Napster in Patent Case.

By Jon Newton 1/14/05

SightSound President and ceo Scott Sander says he finds it "wildly ironic" that Napster, "whose name had been synonymous with the most well-known violation of intellectual property rights," might now seek recourse from the US Patent and Trademark Office asking for a re-examination of SightSound patents.

SightSound, which holds patents for the electronic sale of digital audio and video, has filed a preliminary injunction motion against Napster to close its download operation until a court case is decided.

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Chief US District Judge Donetta Ambrose, of the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, has scheduled a March 3 hearing on the preliminary injunction in the wake of a patent infringement lawsuit originally filed October 8, 2004.

Sanders says the companies were on the verge of finalizing an audio license in good faith when, "at the eleventh hour," Napster demanded the free inclusion of a video license, despite the fact that it doesn't at the moment sell video downloads.

Almost exactly a year ago, Bertelsmann Music subsidiaries CDNow and N2K agreed not to contest a series of patents held by SightSound Technologies covering the commercial downloading of music online.

As part of the agreement, the two firms accepted a consent order under which the SightSound patents were deemed "valid and enforceable," it says, adding:

"The retailers did not acknowledge any prior infringing activity related to their sale of music downloads, but agreed to pay SightSound $3.3 million."

Settlement was reached one week before the case was scheduled to go before a jury in federal district court - in Pennsylvania.


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

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The Digital Media Losers of 2004

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