Napster Faces Most Serious Battle Yet

SAN FRANCISCO (07/26/2000) - Napster Inc. Wednesday afternoon will square off against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in a hearing here that could result in an injunction against the music-swapping site. Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel will oversee the proceedings that could put an immediate end to Napster's service.

Judge Patel already rejected Napster's attempt to protect its site in a hearing held in early May. Officials at the RIAA hope that this time, the judge's decision will halt Napster's attempts to delay a verdict, settling the lawsuit first filed late last year. [See "Studios Sue MP3 Startup Napster," Dec. 7, 1999.]Wednesday's proceedings will take place here in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where Patel is the chief U.S. District judge.

Always making headlines, Napster is looking to continue its role as a Web site that provides access to thousands of songs to an equal number of users. In order to do so, the company needs to dodge the weighty copyright infringement charges placed by the RIAA.

Preceding Wednesday's hearing, access to Napster's site was apparently blocked.

Napster, based in San Mateo, California, can be reached at +1-650-373-3800 or http://www.napster.com/.

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