Napster Rails Against Industry


Thursday, September 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Napster Inc., the song-swapping software company battling the recording industry in federal appeals court, says major record labels maintain a ``chokehold'' on current music sales avenues.

Traditional methods of developing musical acts and marketing them widely through traditional channels are firmly under the thumb of a select few companies, not including Napster, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company said in the brief filed late Tuesday.

Napster told the appellate court that the recording industry hopes to ``prevent (Napster) from transforming the Internet in ways that might undermine their present chokehold on music promotion and distribution,'' said Napster attorney David Boies.

The Recording Industry Association of America's copyright infringement case against the Napster is scheduled for arguments Oct. 2 before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The RIAA holds that a federal district judge was correct in ruling that Napster fostered copyright infringement. On July 26, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel granted a preliminary injunction against Napster's popular online service, only to see the appellate court stay the injunction hours before it was to take effect.

The RIAA's vigorous litigation against Napster has rankled many of the company's 22 million users who freely trade music from the Beatles to Britney Spears around the clock. But the association's president, Hilary Rosen, said last week it's Napster and not the technology that is the target of the recording industry's ire.

``We are not suing technology. We are suing a company that is stealing work that does not belong to them,'' Rosen said. ``They cannot build a multibillion dollar business on the backs of other people's works.''

Napster says it will continue to rely on the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 as a defense, arguing that the federal code contains the specific immunity provisions for the company's song-sharing services.

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On the Net:

Napster Inc.: http://www.napster.com

Recording Industry Association of America: http://www.riaa.com

Information about the Audio Home Recording Act: http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/ch10.text.html