MediaBay Files Complaint Against Napster

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CEDAR KNOLLS, N.J. — MediaBay Inc. has filed a complaint against Napster Inc. for contributory copyright infringement and unfair competition, dealing another blow to the embattled song-swapping service.

The suit, filed in a Northern California district court, alleged that Napster’s file-sharing system enables MediaBay’s (MBAY) “old-time” radio programs to be traded without the company’s permission.

MediaBay, which provides spoken-word audio content in hardware and digital-download formats online and offline, Thursday called on Napster to act to prevent piracy rather than wait for companies like MediaBay to enforce their rights.

“We note the injunction that the court previously has issued against Napster in a similar lawsuit and believe it is a key step towards leveling the playing field for legitimate downloadable audio companies of any nature, whether it be music or spoken audio,” Michael Herrick, president and chief executive, said in a written statement.

Napster was ordered by a U.S. federal court earlier this year to remove from its file-sharing lists all copyright-infringing songs that were called to its attention. The record industry has claimed, however, that Napster hasn’t moved aggressively to remove all infringing files.

Napster says that it is difficult to quickly remove all infringing songs because people scramble the names of the songs or the artists.

In a bid to counter that problem, the music industry’s global trade group has unveiled new software, named Songbird, to track down song files available through Napster.

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