The singer's widow, Barbara, has explained the move on the official Roy Orbison website...

ROY ORBISON fans are the latest to have their NAPSTER accounts blocked for downloading MP3 files of his songs for free.

In an open letter to Orbison fans on his official website, [url=], Roy’s widow Barbara said Roy Orbison Music and Barbara Orbison Music have notified Napster of “over one million copyright violations of the Roy Orbison catalogue”.

As a result of their action, Napster will have to “block all user accounts which have been identified as having illegally downloaded an Orbison song using the file-sharing software”.

Orbison added: “As a copyright owner, I’m very happy that there is a technology that exists which can identify infringements. I’m looking forward to a time when digital distribution can be handled in a proper way. We’re trying to enable fans to have an alternative downloading solution and are taking an approach to legitimise Napster, rather than shutting it down. Hopefully we will find a solution soon, so we won’t inconvenience Roy’s many fans who have loved and supported him for so long.”

The action against Orbison fans mirrors an action taken by Mary Guibert, mother of the late Jeff Buckley, who took a similar action to stop users trading unreleased tracks via Napster.

Fans of the Manic Street Preachers, Rage Against The Machine and Metallica have all suffered similar action over the last 12 months.

Napster’s future hangs in the balance after a court in the US ruled they are infringing on artists’ copyright. Napster are attempting to create a model whereby it becomes a subscription service, which will pay funds to copyright holders.