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Napster Injunction Rewritten

Labels, publishers and artists must submit titles for Napster to block

Metallica won’t have to worry about Napster anymore — at least in theory. As was widely expected, a California judge revised her injunction against the file-sharing service on March 6th, ordering the company to halt the exchange of copyrighted MP3s.

The injunction, written by Judge Marilyn Patel, requires artists and labels and music publishers to give Napster the following information about each track they want blocked: the name of the artist, the name of the song, the name of the file and certification that the person making the request owns or controls the copyright.

Still, there are loopholes. Napster’s wiliest users have already tried to undermine the new system by renaming their MP3s using deliberate misspellings. The day the injunction was issued, you could find Metallica’s “Unforgiven” if you searched under “Matalica”, and “Hey Jude” by searching for “Beetles.” The injunction requires Napster and the labels to “use reasonable measures in identifying variations of the filename(s),” but the ability to do that will likely hinge on how crafty Napster users get. On the site’s message boards, users have been suggesting elaborate numerical codes and other schemes for foiling the new system.

Meanwhile, Napster intended to mount a new appeal and had scheduled a March 9th mediation session with the labels, to discuss whether they might be able to reach an agreement out of court.


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