The lawyers representing Napster and the record industry
and songwriting groups are back in court addressing a panel
of three 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals judges, who are weighing whether
to uphold a lower court’s injunction against Napster. If upheld, the popular music-trading
website will be forced to shut down it’s service, which now allows users to search for MP3 files
on other users’ computers and download them. The lawyers for Napster argued that shutting the site down would
violate First Amendment Protections of free speech because it would “forbid … the distribution of intellectual information.”
The arguments used to support Napster rely heavily on a precedent set by the US Supreme Court
in a 1983 ruling involving the Sony Betamix videocassette recorder, in which the court ruled that
if it has substantial uses that do not infringe on copyrights, then the device is legal, even if it could be used to infringe
on copyrights. Of course the record industry is arguing that Napster is very different from a VCR, and it’s uses much more potentially
damaging to the artist or record label. The court is expected to decide within the month whether to uphold the injunction against Napster.
Download while you still can.