Article 1 of 448
to stop the (copyrighted) music by Stacey Wells ATTENTION -
ADDS details ///
SAN FRANCISCO, March 6 (AFP) - A federal court Tuesday
ordered the popular music-swapping website Napster to block
access to copyrighted music sent over its computers.
But US District Court Judge Marilyn Patel also ruled that
music producers share the burden of identifying copyrighted
songs transmitted through Napster.
Under Patel's preliminary injunction, once Napster is
notified about a copyright violation using its computers, it
must block the transmission within three business days.
Napster was also given five business days to show it is
complying with the order.
Analysts were divided over the ruling's impact: some called
it a fatal blow to one of the Internet's fastest-growing
sites, while others said Napster could still operate under the
The case is seen as a key test of whether copyright and
other intellectual property laws can be applied in cyberspace,
where music, movies and other forms of entertainment can be
transferred with the click of a mouse.
Napster has attracted more than 60 million users worldwide
in less than two years, but the recording industry and others
contend it allows massive piracy of copyrighted works.
After an appeals court reaffirmed that the site violates
copyright laws, Napster and the recording industry clashed in
a hearing last week over whose responsibility it was to
identify protected songs.
Patel's ruling, dated Monday and posted on the court's
website Tuesday, indicated both sides share the responsibility
for identifying copyrighted content.
"All parties shall use reasonable measures in identifying
variations of the filename(s), or of the spelling of the
titles or artists names, of the works identified by
plaintiffs," the judge wrote.
Patel conceded it might be "difficult" for record companies
to identify all the copyrighted files that can be downloaded
using Napster, but added "this difficulty, however, does not
relieve Napster of its duty."
The recording industry reacted favorably to the decision.
"We are gratified the District Court acted so promptly in
issuing its injunction," said Hilary Rosen, president of the
Recording Industry Association of America, one of the
plaintiffs in the case.
"We intend to provide the notifications prescribed by the
court expeditiously, and look forward to the end of Napster's
Napster officials could not immediately be reached for
Nicholas Economides , an economics professor at New
York University, said he sees the decision as "the beginning
of the end for Napster, at least for Napster as a
Economides said the restrictions on Napster will
likely drive digital music fans to other systems that are free
and use no central server.
"People will go the public domain programs like Gnutella or
Freenet," he said. "They are not commercial entities, they
don't have servers, they cannot be sued."
But Malcolm Maclachlan, Internet media analyst with IDC,
said Napster can operate as long as it makes good faith
efforts to comply with the court order.
"Napster doesnt need to play hide and seek because its
users are playing hide and seek," Maclachlan said, noting that
users can continually change the names of files being
Mark Lewis of the digital entertainment firm Webnoize said
both sides now face challenges.
The music industry has given Napster a list of some 5,600
songs, he noted, "but they will have to deliver much more
extensive lists before they can effectively force Napster
users to halt the enormous distribution of copyrighted music."
Webnoize estimated that Napster users downloaded 2.97
billion songs in February, an average of some 100 million per
Lewis said that even though Napster began blocking some
song titles in advance of the injunction, "the file-filtering
will have to be stepped up to comply fully with the
injunction. This will be a daunting task."
The recording industry also faces the task of proving the
copyright of all the songs on Napster.
"In some cases, these certifications will be difficult to
retrieve from archives," Lewis said. "Moreover, it is possible
that Napster could challenge the validity of some