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A year ago, online services scrambled to line up brand-name content. Now, CompuServe wants one of its biggest brands to leave.

Time last week filed a lawsuit alleging the online service wants to cut short a two-year, $7 million deal that began last March.


According to the filing, CompuServe has refused to make payments due to Time. The lawsuit also states CompuServe planned to terminate the agreement on March 21 and had said in an October letter to Time that "it would be perfectly acceptable and even preferable to us to end our relationship now."

CompuServe issued a statement saying it was exercising a mid-term opt-out clause in the companies' agreement. But Time said that while other deals between Time Inc. and CompuServe have such a clause, it was not part of the Time contract. The suit seeks $3.5 million from CompuServe and asks that CompuServe continue providing service.

Time Inc. has a licensing deal with CompuServe for Pathfinder Personal Edition, which is unaffected by the Time suit, as well as contracts with Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune.


Money recently negotiated a contract to extend its presence on CompuServe

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