A US federal judge has kicked out a motion by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and 17 companies to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by file-sharing company Aimster.
But at the same time, a federal appeals court moved to deny Napster's request for a hearing regarding a district court's injunction that prohibits most file trading over the company's network.
According to record industry executives, while Aimster's virtual private networks are different from Napster's internet-wide approach to file sharing, both services allow searches for copyrighted music.
A spokesman for the RIAA said that the events are all procedural manoeuvring. "The court has not ruled on the merits in any way and we're confident that when the court does rule on the merits, the rights of the copyright owners will be upheld," he said.
Judge Lawrence Kahn ruled that Aimster initiated the lawsuit for the very reason that the Declaratory Judgement Act was established.
The relevant section reads: "To enable a party who is challenged, or endangered in its enjoyment of what he claims to be his rights, to initiate the proceedings against his tormentor and remove the cloud by an authoritative determination of plaintiff's legal right."
Aimster is seeking a declaratory judgement that it does not violate recording copyrights.
Moreover, in a two-page order the US Circuit Court of Appeals denied two separate requests from Napster.
The court said it would not rehear the issues it ruled on in February, and another group of judges declined to review the matter in a so-called en banc appeal which would have enabled the full 11-judge panel to review US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel's injunction.
"The full court has been advised on the petition for rehearing en banc, and no judge in active service has requested a vote to rehear the matter," the order said.
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