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The BBC's David Campanale
"This decision will slow things up for Napster"
 real 56k

Hilary Rosen, President, RIAA
"We don't think it's in the interests of anyone else to commercialise alternative systems"
 real 28k

AOL Time Warner's Chief Executive Jerry Levin
"Whatever Napster is going to become I don't think anyone knows yet"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 6 March, 2001, 23:07 GMT
Napster agrees to 72-hour deadline
Napster AP
Entertainment firms aim to end free access to their acts
Napster, the song-swapping service, has agreed to block copyrighted music from its site, following a fresh legal ruling.

A federal judge has given Napster 72 hours to block the songs.

The deadline operates from the moment record labels present Napster with lists of songs they want banned.

"Napster will follow the District Court's order," said Hank Barry, chief executive of Napster.

"Even before the court entered the order, we began making efforts to comply with what we believed to be the dictates of the Ninth Circuit's ruling," he added.

Label satisfaction

A spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said lawyers for the trade group had received the long-awaited injunction late on Monday night in the US.

"I have never bought so many CDs in my life since I started using Napster

A Napster fan
The ruling is another victory for the record labels, which have been in legal battle with Napster since December 1999.

They object to their music being freely passed online in digital form between the 50 million Napster members.

"We are gratified the District Court acted so promptly in issuing its injunction requiring Napster to remove infringing works from its system," said Hilary Rosen, president of the RIAA.

Dismayed fans

Fans of Napster, however, have expressed their dismay at the latest ruling.

"I don't know why people would believe for a second that the music industry is losing money because of Napster," said one fan, using the name "Scorpio 65".

"I have never bought so many CDs in my life since I started using Napster... I can promise I won't be buying as many CDs if Napster shuts down, because I won't be able to sample anything."

Fans also said they would be turning to other song-swap programs on the internet, such as Gnutella, Rapigator and Imesh.

Identifying files

However, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel also ruled that major music producers must help Napster comply by making "a substantial effort" to identify files that were being transmitted through the file-swapping service.

Mr Barry added that the court rejected the recording industry's argument that Napster was inherently illegal.

He called for the recording industry to share with Napster the burden of complying.

Although there are as yet no details of what punishment might be imposed if the deadline is missed, the most likely would see Napster forced to close down.

Nicholas Economides, an economics professor at New York University, said he saw the decision as "the beginning of the end for Napster, at least for Napster as a non-subscription service".

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See also:

02 Mar 01 | Business
Napster may be saved by filter
02 Mar 01 | Business
Half of Napster fans would pay fees
26 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Napster blamed for CD singles slump
24 Feb 01 | Business
Napster clones under threat
21 Feb 01 | Business
Music firms dismiss Napster deal
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