Napster blocks list of songs

By the

March 15, 2001

Representatives of Napster, the free online music-sharing provider announced this week that it would begin blocking users from downloading copy-written songs currently available on the service. This announcement comes after a decision earlier this month by the 9th circuit court of appeals in San Francisco which ruled in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America saying that Napster’s service was illegally robbing them of profits on copyrighted songs.

Last Friday night, the Recording Industry of America sent Napster a list of 135,000 songs currently available on the service so that Napster would begin removing them from the system. The list of songs was compiled and presented to Napster employees by the music industry’s five largest labels: EMI, Universal, BMG, Sony and Warner. It remains unclear if the songs on this list are the only songs that will be removed or if more will be taken off in the future.

Currently the record companies and those that control the rights to specific songs must certify that they exclusively own those rights. In these cases Napster must receive their permission to post them on the internet. In a statement posted on the Napster website CEO Hank Barry said that Napster will cooperate in helping to implement the recording companies’ demands.

“As we receive notice from the copyright holders as required by court, we will take every step within the limits of our system to exclude their copyrighted material from being shared,” said Barry.

Barry said that Napster had not given up on its goal, which is to provide free music for people, and would pursue their case. “We will continue to press our case in court and seek a mediated resolution even as we work to implement the court’s order. We will continue to seek a settlement with the record companies and to prepare our new membership-based service that will make payments to artists, songwriters and other rights holders,” he said.

Napster user Simon Thavaseelan (MSB ‘03) said, “It’s too bad that Napster will be taking some songs off their service, but if I can’t get the songs I want off Napster I can find them somewhere else and that’s the bottom line.” Thavaseelan added, “music ought to be free and the technology is getting better everyday. The music companies might be trying to stop Napster now, but nothing is going to stop people from getting free music off the web in the future. This is only a temporary solution.”

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