Music industry sues file-swapping firm Audiogalaxy

The recording and music publishing industries sued Audiogalaxy Inc. for copyright infringement on Friday, extending their legal pursuit of Internet file-swapping firms.

Filed in federal court in New York, the suit charges that Audiogalaxy “willfully and intentionally” encouraged and facilitated the copyright-infringing actions of millions of users. Efforts to filter access to copyright-protected songs were ineffective, the Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA) said in a statement.

The National Music Publishers Association Inc. (NMPA) and The Harry Fox Agency Inc., which represents songwriters, joined the RIAA in the lawsuit.

Audiogalaxy is one of several file-sharing companies that emerged after Napster Inc. was shut down as a result of legal action by the recording industry last year. The Audiogalaxy Satellite application allows users to share and download music files as well as CD covers and other software for free.

“Audiogalaxy’s system is even more egregious than that of Napster,” the lawsuit states. The RIAA said the suit was “a last resort” after numerous warnings were ignored or resulted in “half-hearted attempts to fix the problem.”

Copyright cases targeting other Napster clones, such as Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus, are pending. The industry likens the free downloading of music to theft. Kazaa last week said it could no longer afford the case in the U.S.

No one at Audiogalaxy in Austin, Texas, could immediately be reached for comment.