YOUR CARING, SHARING NAPSTER

The latest on the controversial file-sharing software...

Napster were back in the US courts yesterday (October 2), appealing against last July’s decision to shut down the controversial file-sharing software.

Napster will remain in business for the near future after the three judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco did not come to an immediate decision surrounding the case, which is set to help define the boundaries for music file-sharing and distribution on the Internet.

Representatives from both Napster and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) appeared in court, appealing for and against a judge’s earlier ruling in July that Napster are infringing on artists’ copyright by providing their service.

According to US reports, in court, Napster CEO Hank Barry suggested a compromise could be reached by charging a monthly subscription for the service – thereby providing funds for musicians.

In a statement posted on Napster, www.napster.com, Barry said: “We strongly believe that members of the Napster community who share music on a person-to-person, non-commercial basis are not violating any law.

“We will use every possible avenue to defend our position in court. However, I want to take a moment at this time to note our surprise that we have been unable to resolve this case outside of the judicial process…

“Over a period of many months, Napster has made serious proposals to each of the major record companies and their publishing affiliates that involve payments of substantial percentages of expected company revenues to compensate artists and rights holders – proposals whose most conservative estimates would result in payments of over $500million to the industry in just the first year alone. Every one of these proposals has been rejected, and the record companies have made no counterproposals.

“Just as we will continue to press our case in court and on Capitol Hill, we will continue to seek an agreement with the recording industry, because we believe that our 32million users deserve nothing less.”

Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the RIAA, said, also in a statement: “Nobody expected a ruling from the bench today but we were pleased with the court’s understanding of the issues. We hope the court will render a decision as promptly as possible.”

A written decision is expected from the judges in the near future.