A number of record companies who are members of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have been granted a preliminary injunction against the Aimster file trading software service that has been judged to have infringed the record companies' copyright.
The injunction shows that companies and individuals will not be allowed to build a business on music they do not own and that they will be held responsible for their actions, the RIAA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The court documents refer to Aimster, but the service has been known as Madster since February, when the Aimster domain name was assigned to America Online Inc. (AOL).
The injunction was granted in the Northern Illinois District Court by judge Marvin Aspen, who described Aimster as "a service whose very raison d'etre appears to be the facilitation of and contribution to copyright infringement on a massive scale," the judge wrote in his ruling.
The injunction was granted against defendants BuddyUSA Inc., AbovePeer Inc. and John Deep, founder of BuddyUSA and president and chief executive officer of AbovePeer.
Aimster had said that it merely provided software for users to share files, according to submissions made to the court.
The judge said that the defendants "go to great pains to characterize the Aimster service as merely an innocent provider of infrastructure services to end users, with the implication being that Aimster is not and should not be held responsible for the malfeasance, if any, of its end users."
In a submission, the record companies contended that: "Aimster is a highly integrated system that connects people throughout the world (who otherwise would likely have no contact with one another) and encourages and enables them to make their music files, among other copyrighted works, available for copying and distribution in a single database index."
The record companies have five days to submit proposed language for the preliminary injunction and the defendants have two business days after that to submit any response to the proposed language, the judge said in his ruling.
RIAA is best known for its attack on the pioneering Napster file-sharing service, which it forced to close after a series of similar court cases over copyright infringement.
Since then, the RIAA's Web site has been a target of hackers, who broke into the site last week and who earlier launched denial of service attacks against the site.