∞ Apple sued for distributing music on iTunes Store

Apple is being sued for allegedly infringing a patent that covers selling music over the Internet, according to a new lawsuit filed in the U.S. Filed in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, Sharing Sound claims that Apple’s iTunes Store violates its patent that describes the “Distribution of Musical Products by a Web Site Vendor Over the Internet.”

The abstract of the patent reads:

The system and method permit the purchase of audio music files over the Internet. The PC user logs onto the vendor’s web site and browses the songs available for purchase. The songs can be arranged by artist, music style, etc., as mentioned above. Further, the vendor can provide suggestions on the web site, directing the PC user to songs that might be desirable, based on that PC user’s previous purchases, her indicated preferences, popularity of the songs, paid advertising and the like. If interested in a song, the PC user has the option of clicking on a song to “pre-listen” to it–hearing a 20-second clip, for example. If the PC user then wishes to purchase the song, she can submit her order by clicking on the icons located next to each song/album. The order will be reflected in the shopping basket, always visible on the screen. As the PC user selects more items, each and every item is displayed in the shopping basket. At any point in time, the PC user can review her selections, deleting items she no longer desires.

If you are thinking that Apple is not the only one that distributes music over the Internet, you would be right — that detail didn’t slip by Sharing Sound either.

In addition to Apple, Sony Ericsson Mobile, Sony, Sony Electronics, Sony Computer, Rhapsody, Napster, Brilliant Digital Entertainment, and Microsoft are also named in the lawsuit. Surprisingly, Amazon is not on the list of companies being sued.