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XM Named In Suit

3/23/2007 10:30:00 AM Eastern

Washington — The National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) filed a lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio for copyright infringement by the XM+MP3 service on such XM/MP3 players as the Pioneer Inno and Samsung Helix.

The suit accuses XM of operating an illegal download service because the XM+MP3 service lets users record and store songs on a portable player that can be permanently maintained and individually accessed, "without fairly compensating" music publishers and songwriters.

The suit filed yesterday afternoon in federal court in New York names as plaintiffs Famous Music, Warner/Chappell, Sony/ATV, EMI music and others. It seeks a maximum of $150,000 in damages for each song copied and it lists over 175 songs among others that have been distributed through XM+MP3.

The NMPA cites the claims made by XM and Sirius to support their merger, as evidence that XM is acting as a download service. "XM has argued that it is just a 'radio broadcaster' that does not provide download services. But after it announced its intent to merge with one of its main competitors, Sirius Satellite Radio, XM began aggressively defending against charges that the merger would create an unacceptable monopoly. XM has asserted that it is in the same market as 'music subscriptions services, iPods, CD players and cellphones."

XM responded to the suit by claiming, "The lawsuit filed by the NMPA is a negotiating tactic to gain an advantage in our ongoing business discussions. XM pays royalties to writers and composers who are also compensated by our device manufacturers. We are confident that the lawsuit is without merit and that we will prevail."

A similar suit against XM was filed last year by the Recording Industry Association of America.