Recording industry plans to send Napster 135,000 song names

The Associated Press
Saturday March 10, 2001

SAN JOSE — The recording industry said Friday it planned to send a list of 135,000 copyright songs to Napster Inc., giving the file-swapping company until Wednesday to block their free exchange on the online service. 

The Recording Industry Association of America planned to send the list to Napster electronically Friday night, said spokeswoman Amy Weiss. 

Napster then would have three business days to block the songs, according to an injunction issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel. The injunction followed a lawsuit by record companies, who are seeking to shut Napster down for facilitating copyright infringement. 

The list, compiled from music owned by the five largest record labels, arranges the songs by artist name, song title and album name. Also included are names under which the songs are stored. 

A Napster spokeswoman said late Friday afternoon the company had not yet received the list of songs. 

In a Web posting to its more than 60 million users, Napster said it earlier received names of some songs and expects the record companies to send more. 

“You will still be able to share music that we haven’t been asked to block,” the statement read. “The Napster file-sharing service is and will continue to be up and running.” 

Napster did not specify how many files have been blocked, but a wide range of files remained available Friday. 

A computer search for “Metallica” revealed more than 100 files on one server. A search for the band’s name and the song “The Unforgiven” was unsuccessful. Yet a search for “The Un4given” was successful. 

Howard King, an attorney who represented Metallica in a lawsuit against Napster, said he has been in contact with Napster officials since Patel’s order and has noticed efforts at blocking. 

“I learned patience waiting four months for the court of appeals to rule,” he said. “As long as I think they’re trying to (implement the screening system), I’m not going to jump up and down.” 

Napster appeared in 1999 when founder Shawn Fanning released software making it easy for people to locate and trade songs stored as computer files in the MP3 format, which compresses digital recordings without sacrificing quality. 

Five record labels – Sony, Warner, BMG, EMI and Universal – quickly sued, saying Napster could rob them of billions in profits. 

Napster argued no music was stored on its servers, which contained only the names of songs and where to find the music among its users’ hard drives. 

In July, Patel issued a preliminary injunction ordering Napster to shut down, but a federal appeals court set aside the injunction pending its own decision. On Feb. 12, the appeals court ordered Patel to rewrite her injunction.