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US Senate To Hold Hearings About Napster Ruling Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 February 2001
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced yesterday that he will hold hearings to determine if the online MP3 swapping service Napster truly violates copyright law. A federal court ruled that Napster must stop its large base of users from trading copyrighted material this past Monday. "I guess my feeling about this Ninth Circuit decision is a gnawing concern that this legal victory for the record labels may prove pyretic and short-sighted from a policy perspective," said Hatch in a recent speech on the Senate floor.

Hatch personally feels that Napster did violate copyright law, but said that, if Napster is shut down, users might move on to other systems like Napigator and Gnutella that are more difficult to control. Whatever Napster’s ultimate place in the online music world ends up being, it seems that MP3 file swapping is here to stay and it will continue in some form even if major restrictions are placed on the actual act of trading of copywritten files via the internet.

Napster CEO Hank Barry expressed his feeling about the upcoming hearings.
"On behalf of Napster, I want to commend Senator Hatch for his willingness to offer assistance to reach a resolution between Napster and the major recording companies. As Senator Hatch suggested, it is in the public's interest to revolve this matter in a way that does not shut down the Napster service."

Napster has signed an agreement with Bertlesemannn and hopes to ink similar deals with other major media companies to create a subscription or membership based service that will ensure the artists and songwriters are properly compensated for their copywritten intellectual property.

As of this writing, Napster is still up and running.

Source - Napster.com, CNN Online, Reuters

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