Universal hits MySpace with copyright claim

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Universal hits MySpace with copyright claim

Record label demands $150,000 per infringement.

Universal Music Group has filed a legal complaint against MySpace, alleging that the social networking website is guilty of copyright infringements. 

"The foundation of MySpace is its so-called 'user-generated content'," Universal stated in its complaint.

"However, much of that content is not 'user-generated' at all. Rather, it is the 'user-stolen' intellectual property of others, and MySpace is a willing partner in that theft."

Universal hinted last October that it could sue sites hosting so-called user generated content.

The label struck a deal with YouTube before Google acquired the video sharing site, and filed legal claims in October against video sites Bolt and Grouper. 

Universal is demanding US$150,000 for each allegedly infringing piece of content on MySpace, a sum similar to those demanded of Bolt and Grouper.

Universal and MySpace have an agreement that allows the website to display music videos. MySpace has also said that it will implement fingerprinting technology to automatically filter out copyrighted materials in video uploads.

Media conglomerate News Corporation acquired MySpace in July 2005 for US$580m, making it the second most expensive Web 2.0 acquisition behind the US$1.65bn Google YouTube deal.

Universal represents artists including Bon Jovi, Eminem, Jamie Cullum and U2. 

MySpace could be freed from legal liabilities under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, however. The company is likely to claim that it is merely providing a service to consumers and that it does not itself engage in copyright infringement.

The service will remove material if the copyright holder files a complaint.
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