Court Says Aimster Must Stay Offline

Aimster, the online service being sued by major record labels for allowing its users to copy songs for free, must remain shut down until it can prove its users do more than illegally trade copyrighted material, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.

The ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago further muddies the legal waters surrounding Aimster and other "peer-to-peer" song-swap services that recording companies blame for a sharp decline in CD sales.

Various courts have shut down Aimster, Napster, and other online music file sharing services, agreeing with the recording industry's argument that they are responsible for massive copyright infringement over their networks.

But a U.S. judge in Los Angeles ruled in April that the Grokster and Morpheus services should not be shut down because they do not control what is traded over their networks, much as videocassette makers should not be held liable if their users tape copyrighted shows.

Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit said that though there were merits to both arguments, Aimster could likely be held responsible for infringing activity because its tutorials encouraged users to download copyrighted songs.

News source: Reuters

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