Aimster Snubbed By Court

Tina Reilly
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that it will not hear an appeal from beleaguered file-trading service Aimster, which first fell under scrutiny from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) three years ago.

Aimster got shut down in 2001 for copyright infringement, around the same time that Napster took its legendary fall from grace, and Mike Ovitz upstart Scour shuttered its doors, both under similar legal pressure from the RIAA.

The Aimster service made a vague attempt to change its name to and re-launch as a subscription service, CNET reports. But by 2002, the RIAA got an order from a judge to force Aimster to shut down its computers and formally end the service.

In a final blow to the creator of Aimster, Johnny Deep, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal on the lower court's order that shut Aimster down, CNET reports.

Had the justices decided to hear the appeal, it would have been the first music piracy cases to reach a higher court in the U.S.

The charges against Aimster in 2001 were for violating RIAA copyrights. According to CNET, the same week the lawsuit was filed, Aimster lost its domain name to AOL in trademark arbitration.

Aimster grew popular in 2001 for using AOL's Instant Messenger (AIM) service to connect file sharers via buddy lists. What originally triggered a lawsuit from AOL was that Aimster users did not have to be AOL subscribers in order to access eachother's hard drives.

AOL was also peeved that Aimster was using 'AIM' in its name, a blatent trademark violation, in addition to using AOL's instant messenger technology as the basis for its service.

Aimster reportedly tagged right behind Napster during the file-sharing heyday when peer-to-peer networks were at the cutting edge of Internet technology.

Aimster's main publicity plug was that traded files were more controlled by users via their buddy lists, unlike Napster where people's hard drives could be randomly scanned for content.

According to CNET, the U.S. Supreme Court also turned a cold shoulder on Monday to a commercial fax company trying to use the First Amendment to justify the sending of federally outlawed unsolicited faxes.