WEB OF INTRIGUE

The software provider's community of 20 million users have started to scatter to other sites that are harder to police...

NAPSTER’s legally-enforced closure, leading to the loss of 40 jobs within the company, looks like it could backfire on the RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (RIAA) and the major labels it represents.

As widely predicted by net experts, Napster‘s 20 million community of users have started to scatter to other file-swapping sites. However, as these tend to be Gnutella and other services that are individual PC rather than centrally-based, they will become impossible to police, so forcing file-sharing back underground.

The LA Times reports media entertainment strategist Bruce Forest explaining the steps necessary to combat this. The music industry “would literally have to sue millions and millions and millions of people who are, after all, their fans,” he said. “Only a trial lawyer thinks that’s a good idea.”

Disgruntled Napster users organising a boycott of RIAA-sanctioned material, are growing in number. Within hours of the Judge Patel‘s ruling against the file swapping software provider, a dedicated webpage ([url=]www.proboards.com/napster) had sprung up with over 1,500 people promising action. This morning the figure had grown to over 46,000.

And Napster yesterday (July 27), submitted their appeal against the injunction demanding all copyrighted material be removed from the site. Their legal team argued argued that Judge Patel‘s ruling was “impermissibly broad” because it requires Napster “to block the sharing of all music” even though “a significant amount of music copying by Napster does not infringe any copyright”.

The RIAA are due to respond later today, but it looks incredibly unlikely that the injunction will be lifted. Even Napster CEO Harry Berry has said that without an immediate reversal of the decision, Napster may “have to turn off the switch”.