Feeds

No verdict in Napster trial – yet

Napster, RIAA wait while judges deliberate

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals failed to rule on the Recording Industry Association of America's contributory copyright violation case against MP3 sharing service Napster yesterday.

The three judges presiding over the case did not say when a decision would be made, leaving both sides wondering just where their 20-minute case summaries, made in court yesterday, have got them.

However, the judges did seem to have put the onus on the RIAA to convince why they should reinstate the US District Court's injunction against Napster, rather than on Napster to show it was not violating copyright, though since the RIAA is the plaintiff, that's perhaps not too surprising.

According to AP reports of the proceedings, the judges wanted to know just how the RIAA expects Napster to prevent its 32 million users from illegally copying music that's copyright is held by RIAA members.

"How are they [Napster] supposed to have knowledge of what comes off of some kid's computer in Hackensack, New Jersey to a user in Guam?" Judge Robert Beezer asked RIAA advocate Russell Frackman.

Check traded tracks' titles against a list of blocked songs, Frackman suggested, which it can do since shared songs are listed on a central server. Beezer noted that that might prove too much work for Napster, given the volume of music being shared, but that, surely, is Napster's problem not the RIAA's, though Frackman doesn't appear to have made the point.

That may be because the RIAA is keen not to appear the villain of the piece, which does seem how Napster is attempting to cast the organisation. Napster CEO Hank Barry said: "We're willing to pay very substantial amount to the artists. With a very conservative estimate, the first-year payments to the artists would be in the neighbourhood of a half a billion dollars," and went on to point out that his company's attempts to settle with the major music labels out of court had proved fruitless.

In other words, we're willing to work with them, but they don't want to work with us. The bottom line: the RIAA is out to shut Napster down.

Napster advocate David Boies, he of Microsoft trial fame, noted that a re-imposition of the injunction would "cripple" Napster's business and hinder artists who use Napster to promote their music. He also noted that the 1984 Supreme Court ruling which permitted Sony to continue manufacturing VCRs that can duplicate copyrighted materials also protects Napster.

Frackman argued against that, claiming Napster, unlike the VCR, had been created specifically to help listeners infringe copyrights by downloading music for free. ®

Related Stories

Napster, RIAA suit opens

RIAA vs Napster: Full Coverage

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Judge nixes HP deal for director amnesty after $8.8bn Autonomy snafu
Lawyers will have to earn their keep the hard way, says court
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.