Hot on the heels of its victory in the first file-sharing case to go to trial, the RIAA is moving on to its next legal target for a copyright lawsuit: Usenet.com. Fourteen RIAA member record labels have filed suit against Usenet.com alleging it sells access to content that infringes copyrights.
Usenet.com is a service that sells access to the Usenet newsgroups, where users can quickly distribute files all across the Internet in a global, decentralized, distributed network. The complaint alleges that Usenet.com sells access to many newsgroups that "are explicitly dedicated to copyright infringement," and that the company transparently markets itself as a haven for those seeking pirated content.
The music labels are apparently hoping to leverage the MGM versus Grokster decision against Usenet.com. During the Grokster case in 2005, the court ruled that having substantial non-infringing uses doesn’t shield a file sharing service from liability for the copyright infringing actions of its users, if the service encouraged its users to commit copyright infringement.
The RIAA is seeking a permanent injunction against further distribution, an unspecified amount of damages along with attorneys' fees and a declaration that the company is infringing copyrighted works.