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Napster About To Block Swaps

More than 1 million music files were to have been blocked from being traded on Napster during the weekend in an attempt to persuade a judge to keep the controversial file-swapping service in business. On Sunday, Napster had yet to block the files in question. A spokesman said Napster still was working on the technology and expected the filtering process to be in place by Sunday night.

Napster’s decision to implement new screening technologies to filter out the files was the biggest surprise at a hearing Friday in a packed San Francisco courtroom. Attorneys for Napster and the Recording Industry Association of America gave oral arguments lasting about three hours before Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, who is expected to issue a modified preliminary injunction soon in the copyright-infringement case. She did not say when she would rule. Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the RIAA, said she was encouraged by Napster’s action. “If they want to be a legitimate business, they don’t have to wait for an injunction,” she said.