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Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 15:56 GMT
Henley case may boost Napster
The Eagles in their 70s heyday
The way they were: Don Henley (left) with the Eagles
Recording stars led by the Eagles' Don Henley are taking legal action that may also boost Napster in its copyright infringement battle with the recording industry.

The musicians are challenging the classification of their works by several big recording labels as "works for hire" - which means they belong to the employer, not the artist, under US law.

Major labels from the recording industry including AOL Time Warner, EMI Group and Vivendi Universal first sued Napster in 1999.

The artists say the labels should not be allowed to indefinitely own the works related to the Napster case, Jay Rosenthal, a lawyer for the Recording Artists Coalition said.

Opposition

"We're contending that the labels should not use the copyright registrations claiming the sound recordings as works for hire to prove ownership in this case," Rosenthal said.

Napster is opposing a request by the record companies for a summary judgment on the issue of liability, which would leave only the damages and nature of of an injunction against Napster as the trial matter.

But Napster, which stands to lose billions of dollars in damages, is opposing the request and wants a full trial to determine its liability.

Napster lawyer Jonathan Schwarz, said: "The work-for-hire issue is central to Napster's opposition to the record labels' summary judgment motion."

Copyrights

Schwartz said that at one recent hearing, a district court judge had taken Napster seriously when it argued that a summary judgment would be premature.

Napster had said the labels had not provided conclusive evidence that they actually owned the works whose copyrights they claimed had been infringed.

Napster, which was once a very popular service, fell idle in July due to technical glitches it confronted while complying with a preliminary injunction barring it from offering copyrighted songs.


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See also:

05 Nov 01 | New Media
Major licensing deal for Napster
07 Jun 01 | Business
Rival knocks Napster deal
23 Jul 01 | Business
Online music sales set to soar
11 Oct 01 | New Media
Napster wins reprieve
10 Oct 01 | Business
Napster 'successors' emerge
26 Jun 01 | Business
Napster signs deal with indie labels
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