HITS Daily Double
"The RIAA has contended it should not have to supply Napster with specific file names."
—Matt Oppenheim, RIAA Sr. VP Legal Affairs


File-swapper Wants Industry to Help Keep Service Clean

Napster and the music industry will be back in court today (12/10), arguing over how much initiative the once-popular song-swapping service can take in order to comply with a court-ordered injunction that it stop trade in copyright-protected music.

The once-popular service has been idle since July due to technical glitches it faced while complying with the injunction, which bars the trade of any copyrighted material.

Both sides to the lawsuit, which remains widely watched as a defining case on intellectual property on the Internet, will go before a federal appeals court in Pasadena, California today, to argue over how to share the burden for patrolling the Web site and pulling any copyright-protected songs.

The injunction against Napster was issued by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in March after she refined it in response to comments from a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California. The panel found an earlier injunction by Patel to be overly broad by placing too much responsibility for enforcement on Napster rather than the labels who sued for copyright infringement.

To comply the injunction, Napster contends it needs file names. But instead of providing file names, the recording industry has simply furnished song titles and names of artists.

"The RIAA has contended it should not have to supply Napster with specific file names," said Matt Oppenheim, Senior VP of legal affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America. The recording industry has also said that if Napster is aware that a copyright is being violated, it should not have to wait for industry notification to remove the song.

Napster, for its part, says in a ruling of this nature, digital music services should be required to remove content when requested via a filename notice. If filename notices are not required, then the types of content available on the system change radically, eliminating a great deal of content that does not need to be removed.