MySpace is sued by Universal Music

Universal Music Group sued MySpace.com on Friday, alleging that the social networking site that bills itself as a source of "user generated" content instead trades on "user stolen" songs and music videos.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, described MySpace as a "vast virtual warehouse" of pirated works from some of the company's best-known artists, including Mariah Carey, Diana Krall and U2. Universal claims that "no intellectual property is safe" from the alleged copyright infringement, even unreleased albums such as Jay-Z's "Kingdom Come."

The dispute pits the world's largest music label against media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp., which acquired MySpace for $580 million in September 2005. Universal has embarked on an aggressive legal campaign against social networking sites since it reached an agreement last month to license its songs and music videos to YouTube Inc., now owned by Google Inc.

Since then, Santa Monica-based Universal has filed federal lawsuits against Grouper Networks Inc. and Bolt Inc. for permitting users to post without authorization hundreds of music videos from popular artists.

Universal, a unit of France's Vivendi, is seeking damages of $150,000 for each unauthorized music video or song posted on MySpace, alleged that MySpace not only is aware of the infringement but also makes money selling advertising to the millions of users attracted by the lure of free access to copyrighted works.

News source: Los Angeles Times

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