A week of intensive file-swapping for Napster fans winds up today with the Internet tunes clearinghouse appearing in court to face the music. Napster Inc. tried to buy time with a series of legal appeals ahead of the hearing by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel. But it was unclear whether that would delay Patel from quickly issuing a reworked order that would effectively shut down the free service.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last month largely affirmed Patel’s July decision ordering the company to stop allowing music the swapping of copyrighted music. The judges asked Patel to rewrite the order in a way that allows Napster to survive if it can do what even its lawyers say is impossible
keep pirates off its network. Soon afterward, Napster offered $1 billion
in exchange for a 40 percent cut of online music sales
to the recording industry to settle the copyright infringement suit.
The Recording Industry Association of America has soundly rejected Napster’s offer, anticipating victory in the landmark case. Music fans downloaded 2.7 billion files in January using Napster, more than double September’s activity, and more than 96 million songs were traded on Feb. 12, the day an appellate court said Napster would likely lose its case at trial, according to Webnoize.