Napster says it’s obeying, record companies are not

The Associated Press
Thursday March 15, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — Napster Inc. told a federal judge it is complying with her order to police its system for unauthorized songs, but the company gave the recording industry low marks for allegedly failing to share the workload and provide required information. 

Napster told U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in a document filed Monday that “critical disputes” have arisen as to what is required by an injunction  

and what has been requested by the recording industry. 

The Redwood City-based company says the record labels suing it have misconstrued the burdens the court placed on Napster, and have falsely interpreted the March 5 order to mean Napster must search for infringing content even prior to proper notification form copyright holders. 

More specifically, Napster says many of the submissions of copyright works from the recording industry have no associated file names for the company to block. 

“Where a file name is connected to the work in the notice, Napster will exclude them. Where no file name is connected to the work, Napster will not,” the company’s compliance report to the court read. 

Patel had ordered Napster to identify the steps it had taken to comply with the injunction within five business days of service of notice. 

The Recording Industry Association of America did not immediately return calls Wednesday, but a spokeswoman said Monday that Napster simply was trying to buy more time with the courts by wrangling over the intent of the injunction. 

“We believe the court’s intent is clear. Napster is required to stop infringing. Stall tactics are unacceptable,” RIAA spokeswoman Amy Weiss said Monday. 

Napster also requested in Monday’s compliance report that the court convene a hearing at which the parties could address their differences in understanding the injunction handed down by Patel. 

Napster said the growing costs of implementing the new screening technology has interrupted other business plans. 

Napster claims it has spent $150,000 and more than 2,700 employee hours to develop and implement a screening technology to block access to unauthorized content. 


On Tuesday, Napster announced it had signed a deal with Gracenote, a Berkeley-based company that maintains a database of more than 12 million musical works cataloged by artist and title, including spelling variations that may have slipped through Napster’s system in the past. 


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