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LOS ANGELES �— A federal judge in Los Angeles has refused to disqualify O’Melveny & Myers from representing MySpace in a copyright case but ordered the firm to pay attorney fees to Universal Music Group (UMG) after calling elements of its conflict waiver “unworthy of a distinguished law firm.” On Aug. 20, UMG filed a motion to disqualify O’Melveny from the case, which alleges that MySpace, owned by News Corp., is directly liable for infringing UMG copyrights by posting its content illegally onto the social networking site. In its disqualification motion, UMG had argued that documents sought in the current case were substantially related to previous litigation in which O’Melveny had represented UMG. Specifically, O’Melveny represented UMG in the Napster litigation and a related Department of Justice antitrust investigation involving UMG. O’Melveny had negotiated a conflict waiver with UMG in 2006 that involved segregating the lawyers who worked with the music publisher from those representing MySpace. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz, for the Central District of California, said that O’Melveny could remain in the case, in part because of the segregation of its lawyers. But, calling other elements of its waiver with UMG “flatly unreasonable,” he ordered the firm to reimburse UMG for attorney’s fees related to the disqualification motion from July 12 to Nov. 30. Dale Cendali, a partner in the New York office of O’Melveny, who represents MySpace, and Steve Marenberg, a partner at Los Angeles-based Irell & Manella, who represents UMG, did not return calls.

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