Apple, Google, and Napster hit with lawsuits

Apple, Google, and Napster don't often show up in the same sentence, let alone the same hedline, so I was surprised to see the AP reporting that all three are being sued by a company called Intertainer for copyright infringement.

"The patent in question, filed in 2001 and granted in 2005, outlines the business model for offering video content from various providers to consumers over the TV and the Internet, Intertainer Inc. said in its lawsuit," according to AP.

Apple sells movies via iTunes. Google offers videos both on Google Video and through YouTube. Napster, known for its music-download service, has talked about offering video downloads.

Founded in 1996, Intertainer proclaims itself the pioneer VOD (video on demand) company on its Web site.

The company claims it was driven out of business by AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal and Sony, the companies it sued back in 2002 for " conspiracy to fix prices in the digital distribution of entertainment and restraint of trade."

Last March 2006, the defendants -- Sony, Time Warner, NBC Universal, and Movielink -- reached an out of court settlement with Intertainer "that resolved the antitrust lawsuit to the satisfaction of all parties," according to Intertainer.

We'll report more as we get the info. Stay tuned.