METALLICA “DELIGHTED” AT NAPSTER VERDICT

The rockers, one of the most outspoken anti-Napster bands, say the court's decision "confirms that Napster was wrong in taking Metallica's music...

METALLICA have said they are “delighted” at the verdict to uphold, but revise a court injunction, which finds NAPSTER guilty of violating copyright laws.

As reported yesterday (February 12) on NME.COM, Napster’s future hangs in the balance after judges in California ordered the injunction served on the controversial file-sharing network to be narrowed down, whilst saying that a good case for copyright infringement had been made.

Following the announcement of the verdict yesterday, Metallica, one of the most outspoken anti-Napster bands, issued a statement.

It read: “From day one our fight has always been to protect the rights of artists who chose not to have their music exploited without consent. The court’s decision validates this right and confirms that Napster was wrong in taking not only Metallica’s music but other artists who do not want to be a part of the Napster system and exploiting it without their approval.

“We are delighted that the Court has upheld the rights of all artists to protect and control their creative efforts. The 9th Circuit Court has confirmed that musicians, songwriters, filmmakers, authors, visual artists and other members of the creative community are entitled to the same copyright protections online that they traditionally been afforded offline.

“We have never objected to the technology, the Internet or the digital distribution of music. All we have ever asked is that artists be able to control how, when and in what form their creativity is distributed through these channels. This is something that Napster has continually refused to do. Now the court has made that decision for them.”

Speaking to MTV News, Napster founder Shawn Fanning said the court’s decision was “not good”. He said: “The court came back with a decision that was not good for Napster. They affirmed what the previous judge had said…they have changed the injunction slightly, but in the future, based on this result, the service could be shut down.”

Napster also issued an e-mail to their users yesterday, which said: “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Napster in our effort to keep the major recording companies from shutting us down. We are not shut down, but under this decision we could be. We are very disappointed in this ruling by the three-judge panel and will seek appellate review.

“The Court today ruled on the basis of what it recognised was an incomplete record before it. We look forward to getting more facts into the record. While we respect the Court’s decision, we believe, contrary to the Court’s ruling today, that Napster users are not copyright infringers. We will pursue every avenue in the courts and the Congress to keep Napster operating.”

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), who brought the initial copyright infringement case against Napster, are claiming “clear victory”.

President Hilary Rosen issued a statement following the ruling, which said: “This is a clear victory. The court of appeals found that the injunction is not only warranted, but required. And it ruled in our favour in ever legal issue presented.”

The complicated three-page ruling, which is available on the 9th Federal Court Of Appeals website, [url=]www.ce9.uscourts.gov, in part, reads: “The district court correctly recognised that a preliminary injunction against Napster’s participation in copyright infringement is not only warranted but required. We believe, however, that the scope of the injunction needs modification in light of our opinion.”

This new ruling relates to an initial injunction served in July last year, when a lower court ruled Napster was guilty of “wholesale” copyright infringement by allowing users to download MP3 files of copyrighted songs for free.

At that time Napster were allowed to stay in operation until the arguments were reviewed. Since that initial trial last year, Napster has formed a series of bonds with record labels including music giant BMG and the independent labels TVT and Edel Music. All are hoping Napster will become a subscription service, whereby users pay a small fee, which is then paid to copyright holders.