The Tokyo District Court has ordered an online music file-swapping service to shut down. It is the first legal decision in Japan against such a service, which record companies claim infringe on copyrights.

The court order marks an almost complete victory by the record companies over Tokyo-based MMO Japan Ltd., the operator of the electronic music-swapping service.

In the U.S., Napster Inc., a free song-swapping service provider was defeated in a similar lawsuit.

Michihito Matsuda, president of MMO Japan, said the company will comply with the injunction to shut down by next Tuesday but will appeal and will continue the battle in a separate ongoing civil suit.

The 19 record companies belonging to the Recording Industry Association of Japan and the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers filed the injunction against MMO Japan, saying the service violates copyrights and is illegal.

The court said that although music files are swapped by users, MMO Japan is responsible for administering the service, which uses “File Rogue” software allowing users to swap music files free of charge in the MP3 format.

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