- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2001

A federal judge yesterday gave the music file-sharer Napster 72 hours to purge its service of copyrighted material once the recording industry provides a list of protected titles.
Judge Marilyn Hall Patel issued an injunction in the copyright infringement case after hearing last week from Napster and the Recording Industry Association of America, representing the nation's top five record labels.
The order, issued in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, requires the record labels to provide Napster with the title of a song, the artist's name, several possible names that the file could be listed under, and proof that the work is copyright-protected.
Napster then has three business days to block those files from being traded over its program.
"We intend to provide the notifications prescribed by the court expeditiously, and look forward to the end of Napster's infringing activity," said Hilary Rosen, president of the RIAA.
But many industry observers said the language of the injunction was good news for Napster, which was born from a software written in 1999 by Shawn Fanning, a college student who was then 19.
"That's good news because Napster wants to stay open, it wants to keep its huge user base so they can transition them into paying customers," said Lee Black, director of research at Webnoize, a Cambridge, Mass.-based digital entertainment research firm.
Since it went on line, Napster garnered more than 60 million users. Analysts say the main attraction of Napster is how easily it helps computer users find songs traded as MP3 files, which compress digital recordings without sacrificing quality.
"In such a short time Napster got more consumer brand recognition than any other type of on-line service ever," said Stacey Herron, a digital music analyst with Jupiter Research, a New York group that tracks Internet services. "People have a certain loyalty to Napster simply because it's so easy to use and has such a plethora of things."
Napster faced the ire of the recording industry alone until two months ago, when unexpectedly German media giant and record label Bertelsmann AG switched sides. Bertelsmann now funds Napster and the two are working on a subscription-based service expected to start this summer.
In January, Napster was also dealt a big blow when Judge Patel issued a pretrial injunction shutting down the service. Napster appealed, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the injunction was too broad and placed the entire burden of ensuring copyright protection on Napster.
Meanwhile, Napster was hit on another legal front yesterday when the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the producers of the Grammy Awards, filed a copyright infringement suit.
The academy's suit mirrors the ones filed by the recording industry. The academy is seeking to prohibit Napster from allowing its millions of users from downloading and sharing recordings of live performances aired at last month's 43rd annual awards show.
Under the injunction Judge Patel issued yesterday, the court said that burden of copyright protection is also on the recording industry mostly top-five labels Sony, Universal, MBG, EMI and Warner.
The injunction was a big topic of discussion at yesterday's Digital Download Conference held in Washington, where recording industry officials, attorneys, scholars, analysts, consumer group representatives and entrepreneurs mingled all day.
Among the speaker at the conference was Chuck D, co-founder of the legendary rap group, Public Enemy. Today Chuck D is not only an artist, but a businessman as well. He runs Rapstation.com, an on-line radio station for the Hip Hop community.
"I have all my kids on Napster," the rapper said. "I look at MP3 file-sharing as new radio … I encourage file-sharing services to start spreading like gremlins."


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