A federal judge has given Napster a slight reprieve in the form of an injunction that puts the burden on the recording industry to provide the music sharing service with song titles, artists' names and the name of the Napster file containing the material.
US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, issuing an injunction she reworked on the order of an appeals court, said that once record labels present Napster with lists of songs they want banned, Napster has 72 hours to comply.
The order did not specify what would happen if Napster was unable to act in accordance with the order. Napster officials had no immediate comment.
Hilary Rosen, president of the Record Industry Association of America, said that record labels would comply fully with the Court's order.
"We are gratified the district court acted so promptly in issuing its injunction requiring Napster to remove infringing works from its system. We intend to provide the notifications prescribed by the Court expeditiously," she said.
After receiving the notification, Napster, which began a screening system this weekend, would have three business days to implement a way of blocking access to a specified file.
Judge Patel acknowledged that it might be difficult to identify all the variations of a copyrighted song, given that Napster users could deploy code words or shorthand to identify difference pieces of music. However, she explained that "this difficulty does not relieve Napster of its duty".
The order also requires the file swapping service to help police in the area of misspellings and other variations that are slipping through filters. The judge stated in the ruling that the two sides must work together in "identifying variations of the filename or of the spelling of the titles or artists' names of the songs in question".
"If it is reasonable to believe that a file available on the Napster system is a variation of a particular work or file identified by plaintiffs, all parties have an obligation to ascertain the actual identity [title and artist name] of the work," the ruling said.
All parties are scheduled to meet with a mediator on Friday.
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