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Could lawsuit mean the end of Skype as we know it?

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Magics/Action Press/ZUMA Press/NEWSCOM

(Read caption) A woman using the online program Skype. The creators of Skype have filed a lawsuit against eBay claiming copyright infringement.

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Earlier this month, eBay announced that it would sell web phone service Skype, which it bought in 2005 for $3.1 billion. The recipients: Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and a group of private investors. The price tag: $2.75 billion. Now, that deal appears to be in danger.

On Thursday, the original creators of Skype sued both eBay and the investor group, accusing eBay of copyright violation. At issue is a piece of software code integral to the Skype program. Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who together head a company called Joltid, say that eBay continued to use that code with authorization.

"Joltid terminated its license agreement with Skype as a result of breaches by Skype," Joltid said in a statement released today. "Skype has infringed Joltid's copyrights. Joltid will vigorously enforce its copyrights and other intellectual property rights in all of the technologies it has innovated."

EBay has hit back, dismissing Joltid's claims as baseless. Still, according to Reuters, the online auction giant is worried enough to have initiated development on its own alternative software, which would give the online auction giant a fall-back if Joltid wins the suit.

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