Indiana University has become the second institution to ban the popular online music search site Napster because of legal worries, prompting rock band Metallica to drop a lawsuit against it.
The decision by Indiana to block student access follows a recent move by Yale University.
But heavy metal rock band Metallica said it now plans to drop both Indiana University and Yale University from a lawsuit it filed against them. The lawsuit also accuses the University of Southern California and Napster of alleged copyright infringement.
In a statement the band said it appreciates that Indiana University, like Yale, are supporting the right of copywritten material and protecting intellectual property.
Christopher Simpson, a Indiana University spokesman, said, the University'spresident Myles Brand decided to block access to the Napster site because thelaw surrounding such issues has not been clarified.
He said: "We now believe that our faculty, staff and students could incur legal exposure if they use this technology. Until those unresolved legal issues are clarified, it seems prudent to block the site."
Napster allows web surfers to open their hard drives to other peopleonline at the same time and swap whatever MP3 digital music files they havestored. Although the company was unavailable for comment, Napster has said it was prepared to defend the suits vigorously.
Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group, pointed out that in manycases, Napster is being banned not because of the intellectual propertiesissues but because it can bring down universities' entire networks. Indiana University earlier this year shut down the site because its use was jamming campus networks.
"Good luck in the lawsuits because suing probably is not a good long term strategy," said Enderle.
Napster has been a source of much controversy and litigation recently. TheRecording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group for major record labels, and 18 record companies, filed a lawsuit accusing the site of violating federal and state laws through "contributory and vicarious copyrightinfringements."
Napster publishes a disclaimer on its website saying that copying or distributing unauthorised MP3 files may violate US and foreign copyright, and that compliance with the law is the responsibility of the end user.
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