Internet

MP3Board case moves to New York

While file-trading paragon Napster waits in court and rival Scour seeks bankruptcy protection, another potentially landmark online music case is moving toward resolution.

While file-trading paragon Napster waits in court and rival Scour seeks bankruptcy protection, another potentially landmark online music case is moving toward resolution.

MP3Board.com, which is being sued by the record industry for allegedly linking to unauthorized copies of music files online, has seen part of its myriad associate lawsuits bundled together in New York.

The controversial company has been sued by and countersued the Recording Industry Association of America and individual labels several times in courtrooms in both New York and California.

In a recently released decision, U.S. District Judge Ronald White ordered that MP3Board's case against several individual labels be dismissed in a California courtroom since an identical case was ongoing in New York.

The decision removes the case from the California courts, ensuring that it will be bundled with the individual labels' related suit in New York. A separate MP3Board lawsuit filed against the RIAA, rather than cases filed against the labels themselves, still is pending in California.

The MP3Board case deals with slightly different issues than the record industry's high-profile lawsuits against Napster and Scour.

In each of those cases, the industry contends that the company is contributing to massive copyright infringement made possible by file-swapping services.

MP3Board operates a Web site that scans the Net for MP3 files, putting these links into a searchable database. The music labels contend that this, too, contributes to copyright infringement.

MP3Board says it is simply a directory and that deeming it illegal could threaten the rights of bigger Web companies such as Yahoo or Excite@Home to link to content on Web sites.