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Monday, November 20, 2006
Universal Music sues MySpace

Universal Music Group, the world's largest music company, on Friday filed a lawsuit against popular social networking site MySpace for copyright infringement of thousands of its artists' works.

Universal, owned by French media giant Vivendi, filed the suit at the U.S District Court in the Central District of California, Western Division.

In the suit, Universal claimed the News Corp.-owned MySpace had not only allowed users to upload videos illegally but also taken part in the infringement by re-formatting the videos for users to play back and to be sent on to others.

It follows several months of talks on music rights with News Corp.'s MySpace, which broke down late on Thursday.

It claims thousands of links to music from Universal's biggest artists are widely available on MySpace, even ahead of their release to music stores. It estimated maximum statutory damages for each copyrighted work at $150,000.

Earlier on Friday, MySpace unveiled an enhanced copyright protection tool to make it easier for content owners to remove unauthorized material.

MySpace later described Universal's action as "meritless litigation," saying in a statement its procedures for removing illegal downloads lived up to laws protecting digital rights.

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