Several record companies are suing the Madrid, Spain-based operator of the file-sharing site Puretunes, accusing it of illegally selling copyrighted songs over the Internet.

Several record companies are suing the Madrid, Spain-based operator of the file-sharing site Puretunes, accusing it of illegally selling copyrighted songs over the Internet. The music companies, including Arista Records, BMG Music, Capitol Records and Sony Music Entertainment, seek up to $150,000 per copyrighted song and other financial damages against Sakfield Holding Co., operator of Puretunes.

Ten unnamed individuals were also listed as defendants in the suit, which was filed July 3 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The record companies contend the court has jurisdiction over Sakfield because the company is doing business in Washington, D.C., and has maintained the Puretunes site through an Internet service provider based there.

According to the suit, Sakfield unlawfully copied and distributed thousands of songs from artists such as U2, Elvis Presley and Britney Spears through the Web site. The site went off-line in mid-June.

Puretunes, which began operating in May, charged users for access to music files while misleading consumers into believing they were buying music from a licensed online retailer, the suit said. The site charged $3.99 for eight hours of unlimited music downloads, and $24.99 to do so for a month.

When Puretunes launched, Sakfield claimed it had obtained licenses from Spanish trade associations representing publishers and musicians, enough to comply with Spanish copyright laws, the suit said.

But the record companies assert that no such "loophole" in Spanish law exists and that Sakfield is liable. "At all times, defendants knew that they were not authorized by the copyright owners, or by law, to distribute, copy or in any way exploit ... copyrighted recordings," the suit said.


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