LONDON (Brand Republic) - Online music company Napster will find out its fate later today, as a US court gives its decision on whether the company can continue to trade.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will announce over the internet whether it will reinstate an injunction against the company, barring it from trading while a long-running copyright lawsuit continues.
In December 1999, the Recording Industry Association of America filed a lawsuit claiming that Napster was infringing copyright law with its online music-swapping service. Last July, a judge slapped an injunction on the company and Napster promptly appealed. The court agreed to give the company a stay of execution while it considered all the issues.
In the meantime, Napster has been signing deals with some of the companies involved in an effort to create a legitimate business model. In October 2000, Bertelsmann agreed to drop its lawsuit and started to work with the company to develop a subscription-based file-sharing service.
If the injunction is reinstated, Napster’s lawyers are expected to appeal. If the injunction is overturned, the recording industry complainants could take the case to the Supreme Court.
In the run-up to today’s decision, Napster fans have been logging on to the service in droves to take advantage of what could be their last chance to download free music. On Saturday, almost 10,000 users accessed each of Napster’s 100 servers, sharing nearly 2m music files.