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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Napster use slumps after court order
Shawn Fanning creator of Napster
Napster: still one of the most popular destinations on the internet
Controversial song-swapping service Napster has lost one fifth of its users since being ordered to block the exchange of copyrighted music between its users, a survey has revealed.

The number of people using the Napster software slumped from 15m in February to 12m last month, a report by media analysts Jupiter Media Matrix shows.

At the beginning of March, a US court had ordered the Napster to stop web surfers using the software to swap copyrighted songs.

Napster has since introduced a filtering system, although the music industry is disputing its effectiveness.

The court order marked a victory for record companies, which battled for months against Napster, fearing that the firm's song-swapping services, which are free, would undermine CD sales and thus hit the profitability of the music industry.

Popular site

Despite the implementation of the filtering mechanism, the Napster site still remains one of the most popular destinations on the internet, Thursday's report said.

But Jupiter warned that an increasing number of surfers are logging onto the site without trading music.

A report by Pew Internet has revealed that 37 million Americans, including 29% of US adults, have downloaded free music from the internet since last summer.

Napster hopes that an appeals court will set the judgement aside.

Regardless of the outcome of the court case, Napster will soon face competition from several online music distribution services, which are due to be launched by record firms later this year.

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See also:

05 Apr 01 | Business
Yahoo joins online music venture
03 Apr 01 | Americas
Napster rallies its troops
03 Apr 01 | Business
Music giants form Napster rival
22 Mar 01 | Business
Napster faces new legal challenge
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