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RIAA Settles With Audiogalaxy

Another file-trading surface is forced to block unauthorized access to copyrighted files

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has announced
an out-of-court settlement of its lawsuit with file-trading service
Audiogalaxy. “We are pleased to settle this case quickly,” says
RIAA Chairman and CEO Hilary Rosen. “This is a victory for everyone
who cares about protecting the value of music. This should serve as
a wake-up call to the other networks that facilitate unauthorized
copying. The responsibility for implementing systems that allow for
the authorized use of copyrighted works rests squarely on the
shoulders of the peer-to-peer network.”

Similar to the RIAA’s settlement with Napster, Audiogalaxy must
halt the infringement of copyrighted songs on its site and pay what
is described as a “substantial sum” to music publishers and the
recording industry. Audiogalaxy will be allowed to continue
operations using a “filter-in” system, which ensures that any songs
swapped on the site are done so with the consent of the songwriter,
music publisher and/or recording company.

The settlement comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the RIAA
in May, which alleged that Audiogalaxy was “facilitating and
encouraging widespread copyright infringement.” With the terms of
the settlement effective immediately, files by bands such as Wilco
— whose entire new album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, was
available on Audiogalaxy prior to its proper release — are now
unavailable.

Current posts by file-seekers on Audiogalaxy’s bulletin board
are predictably bitter, terming the decision “appalling,” wondering
where to go next to get free music, and complaining that even files
by unknown bands were blocked.

One of the more popular alternatives to Napster after the
file-trading giant was crippled by the terms of its settlement with
the RIAA, the Texas-based Audiogalaxy was one of several sites such
as Kazaa and Limewire that stepped in to take its place.

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