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Napster sends written reply to Court of Appeal

Battle to recommence 2 October

In the ongoing legal battle between Napster and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Internet-based music file sharing service has sent its final brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco before oral arguments begin 2 October, Napster announced this morning.

In its brief, Napster responded to the RIAA's Friday request to the federal appeals court that it uphold a ruling that would effectively shut down Napster's service, contending that it is protected under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).

According to Napster, RIAA "disregarded key language in the AHRA and substituted words that better suited their purpose" when it submitted its appeal.

The RIAA argued that U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel was correct when she ruled 26 July that Napster's file-swapping service contributes to copyright infringement on a massive scale and issued a preliminary injunction against the company.

The injunction required Napster to stop its users from trading copyrighted songs using its service. Napster said the requirement was technically impossible and would effectively shut the service down.

It was the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that, in turn, issued Napster a requested reprieve by delaying the injunction, pending the outcome of Napster's appeal.

"The recording industry is attempting, in this case, to try to maintain control over music distribution," said Napster's lawyer, David Boies, in Wednesday's statement.

"By repeatedly refusing Napster's offers of a reasonable licence and opposing a compulsory licence, they have demonstrated that they are not seeking to be appropriately compensated, but rather to kill or control a technology they view as competition."

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