Day of reckoning again for Napster

Napster, the faded Internet music swapping site, faces another courtroom battle on Wednesday as a judge considers whether to hold the company liable for copyright violations.

Napster has been under a withering two year legal assault by the record industry, which charges that the Redwood City, California internet company allowed millions of users to engage in wholesale copyright infringement. The company's technology enabled users to freely swap music files.

On Wednesday, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel will hear arguments from record industry trade group lawyers trying to persuade her to enter a ruling against the company.

According to court papers filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), testimony and evidence during the court fight shows that Napster willfully violated the record labels copyright acts.

If Patel does enter such a ruling, Napster could be held liable for millions of dollars in unpaid royalties due the companies, plus fines and other costs.

Spokesmen for both the RIAA and Napster declined to comment before Wednesday's court hearing.

Napster, which became one of the most popular sites on the Internet before its legal woes, is about to launch what it has called "the legal Napster" service which requires subscription fees.

News source: Australian IT

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