Billboard is reporting that some of the major record labels have sued the Usenet provider Usenet.com. From the article:

"The complaint, filed late Friday in the federal District Court in New York, alleges that Fargo, N.D.-based usenet.com enables and encourages its customers to reproduce and distribute millions of the labels' recordings without permission. Specifically, the complaint alleges, usenet.com loads online bulletin boards or "newsgroups" obtained from the usenet network onto its server. It then sells access to the newsgroups that it has chosen to host on its usenet.com service. The suit claims that many of the newsgroups that usenet.com chooses to offer 'are explicitly dedicated to copyright infringement.'"

This could be an interesting test case for the DMCA, and definitely one that many Usenet providers and ISPs will be watching. I'm not sure why the labels decided to go after Usenet.com. Was it the name? Or does it have something to do with the fact that Usenet.com apparently didn't respond to DMCA take down notices?

The DMCA will be at the center stage should this case come to trial. The Grokster decision will definitely play a big role too, but there are some other legal precedences for this case as well. Here are just two:

Parker v. Google dealt with an author who objected to Google archiving his own Usenet postings. The author lost, and the court found Google wasn't lable for direct, contributory or vicarious copyright infringement.

Ellison v. Robertson, et al. was the case of an author sueing, among others, AOL for hosting Usenet groups that were used to distribute his works. The case itself ended with a setttlement, but it's interesting because major record companies sided with the author in a friends of the court letter.

Update: Wired.com is now hosting a copy of the lawsuit.

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