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P2P partner charges RIAA with patent infringement

Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology maker Altnet is suing the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and several of its partners for infringing its patent covering technology for identifying requested files on a P2P network.

Altnet launched a campaign in November 2003 when it sent cease-and-desist letters to a number of companies, including those it is now suing.

The lawsuit alleges patent infringements by the RIAA, Overpeer, Loudeye, Media Sentry and four executives at the RIAA and Loudeye.

Overpeer, which Loudeye acquired in March, and Media Sentry sell anti-piracy products. Altnet's lawsuit alleges that the two companies, at the behest of the RIAA, flood P2P networks like Kazaa with "spoof" files that appear to be the files users have requested but which are instead damaged or otherwise counterfeit.

Altnet is seeking a permanent injunction barring the companies and executives it has charged from using file-matching technology covered by its patent. It also seeks compensation for monetary damages in an amount to be determined.

Altnet makes technology for legally distributing and licensing digital content through P2P networks. It would love to work with major music labels and other large content creators, but has been repeatedly rebuffed, said Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister.

"We’ve been very patient. This is going back now over three years. I've met with every single major-label executive over and over and over, but we haven't been able to obtain licences from the majors," he said.

Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service


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