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Musicians Sue Vivendi Over MP3.com Service

Bloomberg News

A Vivendi Universal unit has been sued by musicians Bob Dylan, Billy Joel and James Taylor, who say MP3.com Inc. had no right to transmit more than 700 of their songs over the Internet.

The suit targets an online music distribution service that MP3.com launched before it was acquired last year by Vivendi. The company paid out more than $100 million to settle copyright suits with all five major record labels. MP3.com gained licensing agreements with the labels to provide access to their music.

The artists say they retained the copyright to hundreds of original compositions recorded by them or other artists. Plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Elkin said that even though MP3.com stopped infringing on his clients’ music in May 2000, Dylan, Joel and Taylor can still sue over previous infringements. They’re seeking $150,000 for each infringement.

Vivendi declined to comment.

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