A German court held America Online Inc. liable April 12 for failing to prevent the distribution of pirated music on its Web site.

The judgment by the Bavarian state court in Munich raised concerns that it marked a continuation of German courts holding Internet service providers fully responsible for the content they distribute. In 1998, Felix Somm, the former head of CompuServe Germany, was convicted for failing to block child pornography on its sites. CompuServe is now owned by AOL. That widely-criticized conviction was overturned in November 1999.

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