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Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 10:39 GMT
Napster must stay shut down
Napster has been offline since July
Napster has been offline since July
A US federal appeals court has ruled that song-swapping service Napster must remain shut down.

It upheld a federal judge's ruling that ordered the company to keep its free service offline until it can fully comply with an injunction to remove all copyright music.

US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ordered the shutdown in July after Napster argued that it could block more than 99% of all infringing song files.

Shawn Fanning started the service as a 19-year-old
Shawn Fanning started the service as a 19-year-old
But Ms Patel told Napster it needed to block 100% of unauthorised copyright songs or stay offline indefinitely.

Since the ruling Napster has been focusing on creating a paid online music service.

Since 1999, recording companies have been seeking damages from Napster for allowing copyrighted songs by recording artists to be swapped by users who were able to swap and download recorded material for free.

Companies including AOL Time Warner, EMI and Bertelsmann allege such software was cheating them out of royalties.

Last month, Ms Patel handed Napster a small victory, giving the service time to gather evidence over the copyright infringement case.

Bertlesmann has since joined forces with Napster and hopes to relaunch the site legally later this year.


Created by then 19-year-old student Shawn Fanning (Napster was his nickname at university), the service at one point swelled to more than 70 million users.

Napster counters that music labels deliberately misused their copyrights in order to dominate the relatively unchartered world of online music distribution.

It says they wanted to see Napster shut down purely so their own sites would face no other competition.

In an effort to join the mainstream, Napster began testing a paid, secure online music service in January.

It has yet to secure any licences from the major labels who sued it for copyright infringement.

Two legitimate services, Pressplay and MusicNet, backed by the big five companies have launched in recent months but have yet to make much of an impact on the market. launched its service called Rhapsody in early December but its content has been limited to music from independent labels.

See also:

23 Feb 02 | Business
Judge grants Napster respite
10 Jan 02 | New Media
Napster tests legal song-swap service
20 Feb 02 | New Media
Digital music deadline expires
24 Jan 02 | New Media
Napster wins time to settle
08 Feb 02 | New Media
Music industry's digital plans 'fail'
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