Upside: Pulling the plug on Napster

“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

“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).”