Music sharing service
remains offline following another appearance in court yesterday, in which the company hoped that 99 percent blocking of commercial recording would be good enough. It’s not, the judge told Napster.
Napster has long been a thorn in the side of the
Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) and other groups representing recording artists and labels, because initially, the service permitted users to freely exchange illicitly copied commercial recordings — in essence enabling users to get free access to music they’d otherwise have to pay for. After extensive legal wrangling, Napster ultimately agreed to change the way its service works to block commercial recordings from exchange.
Napster took its service offline earlier this month, when it became apparent that the new file identification system it had adopted in June was not completely effective. Now the court has ordered the service to remain offline until Napster can prove it will block copyrighted recordings completely — not just 99 percent of the time.
Napster interim CEO Hank Barry made his displeasure readily known in a press release offered yesterday. While pledging to work with a court-appointed technical expert to qualify the new system for use, he said, “Napster will obey this order, as we have every order that the court has issued. We believe the Judge’s order is inconsistent with the 9th Circuit’s decision and wrong on a variety of other grounds. We will appeal to the 9th Circuit on an expedited basis. We will continue to work with the technical expert and explore other options for resuming transfers as soon as possible.”
As usual, RIAA president and CEO Hilary Rosen takes a contrary position. Rosen said that Napster’s inability to fully prevent commercial music from being exchanged on its servers is hurting the digital music market as a whole.
“Judge Patel’s decision today that Napster should not resume operations until it can show that it can comply with the court’s modified preliminary injunction was inevitable — given its failure to comply with the court’s order for so long,” said Rosen.
Napster is hoping to be able to launch a membership-based service later this summer. Several major labels have also announced their own competing services.