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Upside: Pulling the plug on Napster

Apr 19, 2000, 08:40 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeffrey W. Reyna)

"In their lawsuits, Metallica and the RIAA accuse Napster of contributory copyright infringement. They claim that Napster is nothing more than an engine for trading pirated MP3s."

"In its defense, Napster points to the very law intended to protect digital works from copyright infringement. According to its attorneys, Napster is protected by the ISP liability safe-harbor written into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."

"The DMCA safe-harbor was designed to limit the liability of ISPs or "service providers" for infringing material posted or transmitted by its users. Napster may face an uphill battle in convincing the courts that it fits the definition of a "service provider."

"Under the DMCA, a "service provider" includes anyone who provides "online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor." Of course, the recording industry will likely argue that this definition was only meant to include ISPs such as America Online (AOL)."

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