The legal battle has begun - and nme.com will keep you updated on events in San Francisco...

Napster go to court this afternoon (July 26) in SAN FRANCISCO in the first of their legal battles to fight closure.

The MP3 file swapping software provider are fighting a suit brought by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) alleging copyright infringement and music piracy.

The RIAA are representing some of the biggest names in the recording industry including Universal, Warner Brothers and BMG in the suit.

Judge Marilyn Patel, the same judge who in May ruled against Napster‘s claim that they were a “mere conduit” for music swapping and found they could be liable for the copyright infringement of their users, will again preside.

Although it is possible that Judge Patel could rule immediately against Napster ordering a preliminary injunction against the site and in effect shutting the company down, nme.com has learned that both sides feel this to be unlikely.

Both Napster CEO Hank Berry and the software inventor Shawn Fanning will speak about today’s proceedings in a few hours time. The pair will address a live webcast at 7pm local time (3am BST) hosted by [url=]www.napster.com.

Given that Napster last week announced they had now more than 20 million users availing of the file swapping technology, it could be a very well viewed event.

nme.com will bring you an update early on Thursday (July 27).