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Napster is calling on its users to march on Washington, DC and protest about the way the company feels it has been treated.

Tempting users with a free concert and the opportunity to hear Napster founder Shawn Fanning talk about programming, Napster hopes enough punters will show in the US capital on 3 April that legislators will back file sharing as a legitimate means of distributing music.

"It's important for the Napster Community to make an impression on the lawmakers gathering to learn about Napster, file sharing and the future of music on the Internet," Napster's Web site implores users.

Having lost the support of the US Appeals Court, Napster has little choice but to fall back on its core audience and spin its predicament into civil rights issue.

Various media organisations have already compared the 3 April demo to black and gay rights marches, and anti-Vietnam War rallies, playing right into Napster spin doctors' hands. We sympathise with Napster - it did infringe copyrights, but the music industry's actions against it run deeper than that - but there's a big difference between fighting for basic human rights and the opportunity to milk a new market.

The timing of the demo is set to coincide with a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting to debate online copyright issues. The demo is set to convene at 9am on the morning of the 3rd. ®

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