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Napster's Next to Last Stand

Napster appeals its appeal

February 27, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Keeping good on its promise to fight the injunction the Ninth Circuit Court upheld against them on February 12th, Napster has filed a petition for rehearing of the decision that could shut the file-sharing software company down. If the court decides to rehear the case, eleven judges, including Chief Justice Mary Schroeder, who was part of the February 12th decision, would hear new arguments and decide whether additional written briefs would be necessary to make a ruling.

Napster's appeal rests largely on the shoulders of First Amendment rights as well as copyright laws. The company charges that the injunction is overly broad and limits authorized use of copyrighted material therefore violating "the First Amendment's requirement that restrictions on speech be narrowly tailored." Napster is also arguing that the court injunction conflicts with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and failed to address "safe harbor provisions and limitations on injunctions" set by it.

A denial by the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco for a rehearing would leave the Supreme Court as Napster's last stop in the appeals process. According to Napster.com the company has not yet decided whether they would take that legal route.

On March 2nd Judge Marilyn Patel, the District Court justice who ordered the initial injunction against Napster last August, will hold a hearing to retool her injunction, as ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court on February 12th.

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