Universal hits Myspace with copyright claim

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Universal hits Myspace with copyright claim

Record label demands US$150,000 per infringement.

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

"The foundation of MySpace is its so-called 'user-generated content'," Universal said 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 last October had hinted that it could sites hosting so-called user generated content. The label had struck a deal with Youtube before Google acquired the video sharing site. Also in October, it filed legal claims against the Bolt and Sony owned Grouper video sites.

Universal is demanding US$150,000 for each infringing piece of content on Myspace. The demand is similar to those from Bolt and Grouper.

Universal and Myspace have an agreement that allows the website to display music videos. Myspace also has 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$580 million, making it the second most expensive Web2.0 acquisition so far behind the US$1.65 billion Google-Youtube deal.

Universal Music 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 service is likely to claim that it is merely providing a service to consumers and that it doesn't engage in copyright infringments itself. The service will remove materials if the copyrightholder files a complaint.
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