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Napster appeal deadline set

Has until 9 August to come up with a good reason why it should be allowed online again

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Napster has until 9 August to appeal against US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel's ruling that it must stay offline until it can block every track that it's not permitted to allow on its network.

Napster reckons its filtering system is more than 99 per cent effective, but Judge Patel insisted that it ensure that no copyright song falls through the net. Napster reckons that's to all intents and purposes impossible, and wants the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to allow it back on line as it is.

Not that it's likely to find itself with many users when it returns. The company's decision to abandon the MP3 format in favour of a new, proprietary system of its own isn't going to win the backing of music fans, though we're sure the music industry is pleased with the move.

.NAP or .MP3, whatever file format Napster chooses to use, for free or subscription-based services, it has to get the Court of Appeals on its side if it's to relaunch without a 100 per cent perfect screening system.

Once Napster files its brief to the appellate court, its opponent, the Recording Industry Ass. of America, has 28 days to file a response. Only then will the Appeals Court issue its ruling. However, it may rule in the meantime that Napster may be allowed back on line in the interim. But don't hold your breath. ®

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