Recently, two federal appellate court judges granted Napster, Inc. a stay allowing the wildly popular music trading service to remain online. Well, temporarily at least.
The service was facing a deadline for shutting down after a lower court judge in the California federal circuit had sided with the Recording Industry Association of America, which claims Napster allows users to violate copyrights.
The July 28th ruling by the appellate court means Napster can remain in operation until the lawsuit goes to trial. No trial date has been set.
“I am very happy and grateful that we do not have to turn away our 20 million users and we can continue to help artists,” says Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning. “We will keep working and hoping for the best.”
But not all artists seem to think the Internet has their best interests in mind. “They claim that this is going to help small label or unsigned artists but I’m not seeing that,” says Bob McNaughton, lead vocals/guitarist for the local group Luckytown.
“Most unsigned acts and indie group’s target audience are college students. They’re the ones using Napster. They (Napster) keep claiming that sales are up but that is for mainstream groups. I’d like to see what those figures look like solely for the college demographic.”
Those sentiments have been expressed by a number of acts, from every genre, that call Hampton Roads their home.
RIAA President Hilary Rosen was disappointed with the last-minute reprieve but issued a statement saying: “We remain confident that the court will ultimately affirm once it has had the opportunity to review the facts and the law.”
Prior to the stay being issued, hundreds of thousands of outraged Napster users had threatened to boycott the record industry in retaliation for its lawsuit. One website found more than 75,000 people vowing not to buy music unless the RIAA dropped its lawsuit against Napster. It has been estimated that if each person claiming to support a boycott went through with the threat it would cost the industry tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
Additionally, new file-sharing sites have begun to spring up that are NOT based within U.S. borders, thus not bound by our laws concerning intellectual property rights.
From the looks of it this one is going to drag itself in an O.J.-like manner so you might want to tune in next week. Same Nap-time, same Nap-channel.