The recording and music publishing industries have begun suing Audiogalaxy for copyright infringement, extending their legal pursuit of Internet file-swapping firms.
Filed in federal court in New York, the suit charges that Audiogalaxy "willfully and intentionally" encouraged and facilitated the copyright-infringing actions of millions of users. Efforts to filter access to copyright-protected songs were ineffective, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) says.
The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and The Harry Fox Agency, which represents songwriters, joined the RIAA in the lawsuit.
Audiogalaxy is one of several file-sharing companies that emerged after Napster was shut down as a result of legal action by the recording industry last year. The Audiogalaxy Satellite application allows users to share and download music files. The system employs a filtering system designed to block sharing of copyrighted materials, but users have managed to get round these by simple techniques such as misspelling artist or song names slightly (for example, Digit tests showed 274 results under a search of Eminen)
"Audiogalaxy's system is even more egregious than that of Napster," the lawsuit states. The RIAA says the suit was "a last resort" after numerous warnings were ignored or resulted in "half-hearted attempts to fix the problem".
Copyright cases targeting other Napster clones, such as Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus, are pending. The industry likens the free downloading of music to theft. Kazaa last week said it could no longer afford the case in the US.