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Emusic.com Joins the Bandwagon and Sues Napster

Struggling Internet music e-tailer Emusic.com Inc. yesterday filed a lawsuit against free digital music file sharing service Napster Inc. for copyright infringement and unfair competition.

“For over six months, Napster Inc. has flatly rejected our requests to filter out and effectively block Emusic tracks from being traded on their system,” said Gene Hoffman, Emusic president and CEO.

Napster was not available for comment.

The lawsuit came just two days after U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel issued a revised injunction that ordered Napster to help the Recording Industry Association of America — which is suing Napster for copyright infringement — to block downloads on copyrighted songs.

Hoffman said he supports the injunction.

In a contradictory move apparently done to keep music fans in its membership base, Emusic asked Napster to reinstate certain members. Emusic last year demanded Napster block users who traded files bought from Emusic. “Today’s actions should make it clear that Emusic bears no malice towards Napster’s users,” Hoffman said.

Estimates for the size of Napster’s user base go as high as 64 million. Last evening, there were more than 10,000 users sharing 1.7 million files through one of Napster’s servers.

Emusic’s music library contains 160,000 different songs. It charges users 99 cents per song, $8.99 per album and $14.99 per month.

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