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Napster exiles 230,000 more alleged music pirates

After Metallica, Napster bans Dr Dre's list of users

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Napster has booted a further 230,142 alleged copyright infringers off its MP3 sharing system. That brings the total number of 'Napster Exiles' to just under 550,000 ex-users.

The latest evictions follow rapper Dr Dre's submission to the company of a list of users he claimed were sharing copies of his tracks without permission. Dre issued the list to Napster last week. Dre's legal counsel, Howard King, also oversees rock band Metallica's legal affairs, and Dre's actions follow a similar move last month by that group.

Then, over 320,000 Napster users were unceremoniously kicked off the service, prevented from using it by hard-coding their terminals' IP address into the software. Around 30,000 users - who King called "liars", according to Cnet - appealed against exile under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It's not known how many - if any - were allowed back into the fold by Napster.

Napster itself sought protection under that self-same Act from the lawsuit launched against it by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The Act rules that an ISP is not responsible for the actions of its subscribers. However, a US District Judge ruled that the RIAA does have a case to answer.

Metallica's action, coming on the heels of its lawsuit against Napster, provoked much indignation among the band's fans - and even a spoof version of Napster's software specifically designed to share Metallica tracks. Dre is likely to face a similar reaction.

It also prompted a flurry of Internet postings explaining how the ban could easily be circumvented simply by fiddling around with Windows' Registry file and reinstalling Napster's software. ®

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