Lawyers for controversial MP3 file sharing service Napster have accused the US record industry of withholding licensing terms, and disputed claims that the company violated copyright law.
In Napster's final written reply to the US Court of Appeals before verbal arguments begin on 2 October, attorney David Boies said the record industry is attempting to maintain control over music distribution.
"By repeatedly refusing Napster's offers of a reasonable licence and opposing a compulsory licence, they [record companies] have demonstrated that they are not seeking to be appropriately compensated, but rather to kill or control a technology they view as competition," said Boies.
In its brief, Napster accuses the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) of "disregarded key language" in the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) of 1992 and "substituted words that better suited [its] purpose".
Napster also reinforced its belief that the AHRA shields its file sharing application, and dismisses suggestions that it intended to include only some primary musical audio recordings and exclude other works within the AHRA.
However, the US federal government, along with entertainment industry groups, filed arguments that Napster's service does not fall under the protection of the AHRA.
Napster also takes issue with the RIAA's attempts to insert a Napster exception into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, claiming that "it dismantles the framework created by Congress which insures that internet companies can continue to function in the face of claims about the actions of their users".
The RIAA submitted its brief last week in support of a district judge's order last July that Napster blocks the trading of songs from major labels using its file sharing service.
In support of the artists' rights, the Recording Academy, which produces the US Grammy Awards, also filed a brief last week to the Appeals Court, arguing that Napster "irreparably damages" the music community.
Michael Greene, the Recording Academy's chief executive, claimed that services such as Napster steal the intellectual property of artists and vowed that "we must do all that we can to ensure that the creative community is protected".
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