D-DAY FOR NAPSTER

The e-mails and flowers are flooding in prior to today's San Francisco Appeal Court hearing...

Hundreds of thousands of NAPSTER users have sent e-mails of support, as the service faces one of its toughest days in court later this afternoon (March 2).

Reuters reports that fans have been sending e-mails and flowers to Napster headquarters in the US prior to today’s San Francisco Appeal Court hearing, which could effectively force a final closure of the controversial file-sharing application.

Last month, the same court confirmed Napster was guilty of copyright infringement by allowing users to download MP3 files of songs for free. As part of the ruling, a panel of three judges ordered the injunction served to be narrowed down, asking the labels to identify which copyrights have been infringed.

Today, District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel is expected to modify her ruling, which could rule Napster has to remove copyrighted MP3 files from the system – something the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) claim they may not have the technology to do.

Speaking about Napster’s ability to comply with such a ruling, RIAA president Hilary Rosen said: “I think it’s pretty well known that Napster is not ready. They are probably not ready to take all of our track names and deal with the system and I’m hoping the court won’t have patience with that because this has been coming for almost a year.”

Napster have revealed proposals to make their service subscription-based, with money raised from the service going to the major labels. However, the labels have rejected the idea, and are in the process of developing their own alternatives to Napster.

Napster CEO Hank Barry has said he feels like a settlement with the major labels is less likely now. He said: “I don’t want to totally close the door, but I felt like previously we had some good traction to have an agreement and I don’t feel that way anymore…

“In general, the recording industry likes the outcome they got and sees no particular reason to talk to us anymore. People are civil, but I just don’t get calls returned anymore”.