Once again Napster lives to fight another day, but in a US court on Tuesday a judge called its song filtering efforts "disgraceful".
US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, whose efforts to shut down the website have been stymied by a Court of Appeals ruling, heard from Napster's lawyers and the recording industry about the internet file-swapping company's efforts to block copyrighted songs.
Lawyers for the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the big record labels, said that thousands of songs which Napster should have blocked were still available. Of 5000 songs which the labels asked to be removed last month, 84 per cent were still available for download.
"I think this is disgraceful," said Judge Patel, who mused that perhaps the service should be closed down. What she did do was, in fact, very little.
The judge is waiting for a report from a technology expert who has been appointed to see whether he can come up with a better way of blocking the songs than Napster's current method.
However, she said to Napster: "You created this monster, you fix it."
The reason Judge Patel cannot convince the Appeals Court that the site should be shut down is that there are artists on Napster who want their material distributed using the file-swapping service. Their rights have to be taken into account under US law.
No date for another hearing was set.
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