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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
Napster cuts jobs to survive
Napster's website AP
Napster once boasted nearly 60 million users
Online music-swapping service Napster has cut 15% of its workforce as it struggles to survive.

The controversial firm said that about 16 out of its 104 staff would be made redundant in order to strengthen resources in other areas.

The cuts came primarily in customer service, business development and administration.

Napster complains that record companies have
Napster has been idle since July
Napster is now working on transforming its service into a secure, membership site with a subscription fee.

"Napster took the step of streamlining staff in selected areas in order to strengthen resources in other areas crucial to preparing of our new membership base service," chief executive Konrad Hilbers said.

Napster has been idle since July after losing a long court battle against five leading players in the music industry.

A US court ordered it to bar copyright material from its selection and Napster then ran into technical difficulties in complying with the court order.

But the firm hopes to re-launch later this year.

Napster attracted nearly 60 million users at its peak, by allowing them to swaps songs for free.

But AOL Time Warner, EMI, Bertelsmann, Vivendi Universal and Sony have sued the firm for infringement of copyright.

Evidence

Earlier this month, the music-swapping service won breathing space in its long-running battle with the record companies.

A judge decided that there was not yet enough evidence to justify a decision over whether Napster can be held liable for its users breaking songs' copyright.

The decision spared Napster at least temporarily from what is likely to be a multi-million-dollar bill for unpaid royalties.

The music industry argued that Napster's online technology facilitated wholesale copyright infringement.

See also:

10 Oct 01 | Business
Napster 'successors' emerge
10 Oct 01 | New Media
Crunch day for Napster
12 Jun 01 | Business
EU opens online music probe
06 Jun 01 | Business
Victory for music giants?
30 Apr 01 | Business
Online music bonanza
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