BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Market Data 
Economy 
Companies 
E-Commerce 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Saturday, 10 February, 2001, 09:52 GMT
Anxious weekend for Napster
Stopping Napster BBC
Napster's days could be numbered
A key legal ruling which could effectively shut down the popular online song-swapping service Napster is to be announced on Monday.

Fans of the online song-swapping service are expected to spend the weekend downloading music ahead of the federal appeals court's decision on whether or not to slap an injunction on Napster.

The three judges, which have issued rulings in favour of technology in the past year despite concerns of copyright infringement, heard the recording industry's case in October against Napster.

The court battle is being seen as the first big battle over copyrights in cyberspace, and is expected to define how books, movies and music are distributed on the internet.

Copyright accusation

The recording industry wants Napster shut down, alleging it is contributing to widespread copyright infringement and is pursuing legal action against the company in federal court in San Francisco.

Napster has more than 40 million users who can pass along MP3 music files, most of which have been copied from CDs.

The question before the appeals court is whether to remove Napster from the internet or allow it to keep operating while that case continues.

In a ruling in July last year, a US district court judge said Napster was guilty of wholesale copyright infringement and ordered it shut down pending a full trial.

But the appeal court granted a last-minute stay, saying it needed more time to consider.

Legal twists

Since the ruling last July, Napster signed an alliance with German media giant Bertelsmann and has indicated it would charge users a fee that could be used for royalties.

Industry observers expect that if an injunction is ordered, it could take days or weeks to take effect and that Napster's legal team would appeal against it.

If the injunction is overturned, the recording companies involved in this case, could take it to the Supreme Court.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

30 Jan 01 | Business
Napster confirms membership charge
10 Nov 00 | Business
Bertelsmann approaches EMI
15 Nov 00 | Entertainment
MP3.com strikes Universal deal
18 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
How to produce pirate-proof pop
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories