A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California overruled federal Judge Marilyn Patel's July 11th ruling that would have forced Napster to remain offline until the company was able to promise that all of the material on its site was un-pirated.
At the beginning of July, Napster voluntarily pulled itself offline, as the company worked out kinks within its system. The company's tests suggested that it was capable of blocking ninety-nine percent of unauthorized copyrighted work from the site. Patel's ruling ordered Napster to remain offline until it could reach 100 percent compliance.
The Recording Industry Association of America remained optimistic that Patel's ruling would ultimately be reinstated. ""We are confident that after a thorough review, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold Judge Patel's decision," said RIAA general counsel Cary Sherman. "The evidence in this case clearly shows that Napster has not done all it can to police its system. It is important to note that today's ruling does not change in any way the fact that Napster must prevent copyrighted works from appearing on its system as previously ordered by the Court."
In other Napster news, the company plans to run a second round of tests in preparation for its membership-based service, which the company hopes to launch this summer. Napster users can visit www.napster.com and volunteer to be test subjects for the beta test on reconfigured service.
The news arrives just a week after Napster settled two high-profile lawsuits with Dr. Dre and Metallica; in addition to dropping their suits, both acts promised contribute material to the site, once the membership program is instituted and working properly.