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Napster may ban Metallica's ‘pirates’

We'll look at the band's list, says lawyer

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Napster appears to have agreed to consider banning over 335,000 users claimed by metal band Metallica to be music pirates. Napster's lawyer, Laurence Pulgram, told Reuters yesterday that the software company will take a look at Metallica's list of alleged copyright infringers with a view to preventing them from using the system if Metallica's claims prove accurate. "If the claims are submitted properly, the company will take the appropriate actions to disable the users Metallica has identified," he said. It's not entirely clear how Napster can disable the users, assuming of course that it agrees to do so. Napster collects a surprising amount of information about an individual, which could be used to identify and block specific users. But what's to stop them from setting up new identities and carrying on as before? Not a lot, we suspect, but then Napster's tacit agreement to Metallica's terms is largely symbolic - it's as much about getting the software developer on the defensive as limiting the activities of the alleged pirates. In any case, while Napster argues it's not responsible for the actions of its users, US law forces it to block proven copyright infringers.

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