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MP3.com sues former counsel for alleged malpractice

Online music company MP3.com said Friday it filed a malpractice lawsuit against its former legal counsel, Cooley Godward LLP, seeking several hundred million of dollars in damages and compensation over a slew of copyright lawsuits that it faced.

In the suit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, MP3.com said it launched its “My.MP3.com” service in January 2000 based on allegedly inaccurate and incomplete legal advice from the Palo Alto, California-based law firm.

The service, which enabled users to store recordings contained on their CDs and listen to them from any available Internet connection, provoked several copyright lawsuits by major record labels.

MP3.com said that based on Cooley’s legal advice, it believed the service was lawful and proceeded to launch it.

It said it was seeking several hundred million dollars for the loss in goodwill and value of MP3.com, and also for more than $175 million it has paid out in judgments, settlements and legal fees related to the copyright lawsuits.

MP3.com, based in San Diego, California, is now a unit of Vivendi Universal.

“We view the claims to be wholly at odds with the facts,” Mark Pitchford, a partner at the firm and its chief operating officer, told Reuters. “We intend to aggressively defend (the suit).”

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