Canada's biggest record label, publisher and management company is helping out a family sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)for copyright infringement.
The privately-owned Nettwerk Music Group is intervening, it says, because the songs downloaded by the Gruebel family include Avril Lavigne, a Nettwerk management client. Nettwerk will fund the Gruebel's defense.
"The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests," said Nettwerk chief executive Terry McBride in a statement.
"Litigation is not 'artist development'. Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love."
Chicago lawyer Charles Lee Mudd will defend the Gruebels.
Mudd said the RIAA has "misapplied" the law and that lawsuits should be a "shield, not a sword".
The RIAA has demanded the family pay a $9,000 penalty, reduced to $4,500 if they pay up promptly. Nettwerk has vowed to foot the legal bill if it loses the case. ®