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DECISIONS Young’s e-mail address is gyoungnlj.com. affirming an illinois federal court’s grant of a preliminary injunction that essentially shut down Aimster, an Internet music file-swapping service, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on June 20 that, absent the stay, the harm caused to the music industry by the site’s continued operation would be irreparable. In re Aimster Copyright Litigation, No. 02-4125. Aimster users download proprietary software off the Aimster Web site and register on the system by entering a user name and password. Once registered, users designate whatever files on their computers they are willing to share with other registrants. When a user is looking for a specific file, Aimster’s server searches the computers of those users who are online for that file, and has the computer in which the filed is located transfer the file to the user requesting it. Such transfers are encrypted by software furnished by Aimster and decrypted by the recipient using the same software. In a consolidated action, the owners of most existing copyrights on American popular music filed a contributory copyright infringement action against Aimster. The district court entered a broad preliminary injunction, shutting down the service until the merits of the suit are resolved. Although there are possible noninfringing uses of the service, the 7th Circuit found that Aimster had failed to show that its service was ever used for any purpose other than to infringe the recording industry’s copyrights. Although both sides would suffer irreparable harm if either did not prevail at the preliminary injunction stage, the plaintiffs have a stronger case on the merits, the circuit court said.

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