AOL enjoined for nabbing MP3 technology

A U.S. federal judge has enjoined America Online Inc. (AOL) from distributing its AOL 6.0 client amid allegations that the company nabbed PlayMedia System Inc.'s AMP MP3 playback technology for use in its Media Player without permission, the digital content distributor said Tuesday.

According to a statement released by PlayMedia, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz issued a preliminary injunction order against AOL Monday, after finding that PlayMedia had established the probable validity of allegations that the ISP stole its MP3 technology. The lawsuit was filed by PlayMedia in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which is located in Los Angeles.

The judge enjoined AOL from distributing its AOL 6.0 client and required the company to notify all its licensees of the injunction, PlayMedia said. AOL just recently released a new version of its software, AOL 7.0.

PlayMedia sued AOL on April 17, 2001, for copyright infringement, claiming that it used the company's MP3 audio decoding engine dubbed AMP in its AOL 6.0 Media Player without obtaining permission. Although AOL purchased a company called Nullsoft Inc., which had a license to use AMP, that license was only valid when used in conjunction with Nullsoft's Winamp MP3 player, the company claimed.

PlayMedia said that AOL has denied all allegations of impropriety. AOL was not immediately available for comment.

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