Altnet are suing the a group of companies, consisting of Overpeer, MediaDefender and the RIAA, over patent infringement. Altnet, a peer-to-peer company and joint venture between Brilliant Digital Entertainment and Joltid, claim that the companies have infringed a patent Altnet hold whilst undertaking their copyright campaign with peer to peer networks to root out illegally distributed music and files.
The patent itself refers to a technique that can read the digital fingerprint of a file held on a network, thus identifying a music track, video or other infringing file. Altnet approached the companies with the technology in 2003 with the view to entering licensing agreements, but had no success. Since then, the three accused companies have used fingerprinting in their campaign to rid P2P networks of infringed IP, without Altnet’s permission. Subsequently, the company sent a number of cease and desist letters to discourage further infringement.
Joltid was founded by Kazaa’s creators after Sharman Networks picked up the popular P2P client. Altnet’s P2P technologies are used by Atari and Intervideo, amongst others, to distribute and sell content.
Overpeer has denied infringing any of Altnet’s IP, but the RIAA is yet to make a statement. Overpeer and MediaDefender claim that their techniques involve swamping P2P networks with desirable, though entirely fake, files to put downloaders off trying to acquire infringing content.
Altnet Chief Executive Officer Kevin Bermeister said in a statement: “We’ve exhausted every means of trying to work with these defendants and those they represent to patiently encourage and positively develop the P2P distribution channel. We cannot stand by and allow them to erode our business opportunity by the wholesale infringement of our rights.”