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Court To Napster: Permission Granted

Napster got another lease on life today when a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a federal judge’s order last week that ordered the Redwood City company to remain offline until it fully complied with an injunction to remove all copyright music.

On July 11, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel issued an order mandating that Napster, which had a week earlier voluntarily stopped all file-sharing activity, remain shut down until it could demonstrate 100 percent accuracy of its file-filtering software. The company at the time was prepared to resume its operations, telling the court it could promise 99.4 percent accuracy.

The company has been working to build the necessary database of song title/artist information that will be used to ensure that rights holders are compensated for the use of their music on the for-pay subscription service that is expected to launch later this summer.

The RIAA responded to the ruling by saying that the court only temporarily lifted Patel’s order until the case is heard again later this year. RIAA attorney Cary Sherman said, “We are confident that after a thorough review, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold Judge Patel’s decision…It is important to note that today’s ruling does not change in any way the fact that Napster must prevent copyrighted works from appearing on its system as previously ordered by the court.”

Jonathan Schwartz, Napster’s general counsel, stated: “We’re pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals granted our request for a stay of the District Court’s most recent order. We’re studying the implications of the decision. We continue to push ahead with the launch of our new membership service later this summer.”  

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