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Aimster Gets the Napster Treatment
The major record labels sued Aimster on Thursday, charging the Albany, N.Y.-based file-sharing startup with copyright infringement. However, a federal judge in Albany enjoined the plaintiffs from proceeding with their complaint, filed in New York City, until a hearing Wednesday.

The movie studios are expected to file a similar suit of their own against the company on Friday.

Three weeks ago, Aimster filed suit against the RIAA in an attempt to stave off an anticipated attempt by the record industry to shut down Aimster. The record industry will present its motion to dismiss that case at Wednesday's hearing.

"We believe [the RIAA's] action is a backdoor attempt" to divest the Albany court of its authority, said Aimster attorney George Carpinello of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, the same firm representing Napster.

"Aimster is Napster all over again," Cary Sherman, general counsel to the Recording Industry Association of America, said in a statement. "Beneath the added bells and whistles lies the same service that Napster provides."

Aimster's software piggybacks on instant-messaging applications to allow users to trade files with other people on their so-called buddy lists. Aimster contends that because these lists are private, it does not have the right or responsibility to monitor or control the files or information exchanged among users.

Not so, says the RIAA. "Aimster is hanging its hat on a complete and utter misperception," Sherman said. "The truth is you do not need to have any buddies to use Aimster. It works with or without a buddy list."

In his statement regarding the suit, Sherman explained that the RIAA had tried to meet with Aimster on two separate occasions but that the software company abruptly canceled both times. A day after canceling the second meeting, Aimster sued the RIAA, according to Sherman.

"Under these circumstances, we can reach no other conclusion than that they never intended to talk to us," Sherman said in the statement. "The only apparent reason they agreed to meet with us at all was simply to delay matters while they prepared their lawsuit."

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