Saturday, July 29, 2000

Napster to stay online - for now

Judges grant reprieve for music trader

By Ron Harris
The Associated Press

        SAN FRANCISCO — Two federal appeals judges Friday granted Napster Inc. a stay allowing the popular music trading service to stay online at least temporarily.

        The service was facing a midnight PDT deadline for shutting down after a lower-court judge sided with the recording industry, which claimed Napster allowed users to violate copyrights.

        Napster employees screamed jubilantly at hear ing Friday's news from a two-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a company spokeswoman said.

        Napster, founded last year by a Northeastern University student, contends that it is not responsible for the actions of its users.

        The industry told the 9th Circuit that giving Napster a reprieve would “increase dramatically” the harm it has suffered from “massive copyright infringement.”

        But the appeals judges said “substantial questions” had been raised about “the merits and form of the injuction” and granted Napster the stay.

        With the deadline looming Friday, users worldwide held Napster-download mara thons, and developers of alternatives to Napster's distribution system worked feverishly to provide their software. Napster says it has 20 million patrons.


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