A Beverly Hills, Calif., company has sued Universal Music Group (UMG) and cable firm DirecTV, alleging that they stole an idea for an "uncensored" cable music network.

A Beverly Hills, Calif., company has sued Universal Music Group (UMG) and cable firm DirecTV, alleging that they stole an idea for an "uncensored" cable music network.

According to the suit, filed Tuesday (March 9) in California Superior Court in L.A., Uncensored Music Network Inc. prepared a business plan in late 2003 proposing a premium 24-hour cable channel that would allow artists "the ability to truly exercise their First Amendment right of free expression." Uncensored sought financing of nearly $50 million for the venture.

The action claims that in January, after the business plan was presented to DirecTV and to Steve Rifkind, head of Street Records, which is partially owned by UMG's Universal Records, a story appeared in the Los Angeles Times outlining a similar channel that would be backed by UMG. The channel was to be called "1AM" (referring to the First Amendment), according to the suit.

Uncensored's suit seeks court orders restraining UMG and DirecTV from pursuing their purported cable venture and compensatory damages of $49.75 million, plus further compensatory awards of $10 million a month "for so long as the misappropriation of the business strategy continues," plus interest.

A UMG spokesman says the company does not comment on pending litigation.