For a Song...

Record labels and music publishers owned by EMI are suing locally based MP3tunes for copyright infringement. MP3tunes owner Michael Robertson is named in the suit, which accuses MP3tunes' sideload.com of illegally providing free access to thousands of playable songs online.

The lawsuit, filed November 9, alleges that MP3tunes "does not own the music it exploits, nor does MP3tunes have any legal right or authority to use or exploit that music." Robertson's previous endeavor, MP3.com, was sued in 2000 by record labels and music publishers. The company agreed to pay an eventual settlement of over $100 million.

Sideload.com was launched in early 2006, offering users access to "29,000 songs from more than 7,000 different artists," according to its initial press release. "No music is actually stored on Sideload.com...only links to files that are publicly available elsewhere on the net are collected." New links are frequently added, with the site's current list containing approximately 70,000 songs.

"It's possible some of the tracks may be unauthorized," Robertson said last year. "But the difference between Sideload and [the original] Napster is that we're simply a search engine; we're no different than Google. You can type that song name into Google or MSN or Yahoo! and chances are you're going to find the same song [link].... All we're doing is providing a nice interface where you can play it...."

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