Apple, Google and Napster Sued Over Media Downloads

Dennis Faas's picture

In the latest installment of tech-related lawsuits, online media company Intertainer has filed a lawsuit against three heavyweights: Apple, Google and Napster.

Although Intertainer closed its doors in 2002, it was granted a patent in 2005. The broad patent gave Intertainer the rights for "managing, distributing, and/or retailing digital media assets." (Source:

The meaning and breadth of the patent description is hazy: not only to the typical reader, but also to patent lawyers. Eric Goldman, head of the High-Tech Law Institute, said "I have the same problem with this patent as so many of the patents of the dot-com boom days: I don't know what it means." (Source:

The lawsuit was filed in Texas on December 29, 2006, despite the fact that the plaintiff and all three defendants hail from the state of California. Why the distant locale? It certainly was not a random decision; Texan courts are known for favoring plaintiffs in patent cases. (Source:

This is not the first time that Intertainer has dabbled in lawsuits. In 2002, the company sued Movielink, a movie download service. Intertainer had claimed that movie studios were guilty of fixing prices in order to put Intertainer out of business. The two companies finally settled in 2006, although amounts and details remain undisclosed. (Source:

In regard to the current suit, Intertainer founder Jonathan Taplin has claimed that "Intertainer was the leader of the idea of entertainment on demand over Internet platforms before Google was even thought up." (Source:

Even if Taplin is right, does that mean that other companies are locked out from entering the industry? At this point, it's up to the courts to decide.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet