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Tuesday, July 04, 2000
Napster Says RIAA Trying to Stifle Technology


"...Napster accused the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) of trying to stifle its song-swap technology in order to maintain dominance in the $39 billion global music business.

A lawsuit by the RIAA, a trade group for the major music companies, threatens to shut down the service developed by San Mateo, Calif.-based Napster, which lets fans trade songs by trading MP3 files, a compression format that turns music on compact discs into small computer files.

On June 12, the RIAA, which has called Napster a haven for music piracy, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Napster, seeking to remove all the songs owned by the group's members from Napster's song directories. Napster recently hired Boies, lead attorney for the Justice Department in the Microsoft antitrust case. The RIAA's case against Napster has drawn wide attention, becoming what many see as the first big battle over copyright on the Internet.

``I do think some of the principles are the same such as whether or not a dominant firm or association should have the ability to use its power to stifle or disable a new technology and ... (if) consumers are benefited by having access to new technology and are being able to make choices,'' he said.

At the heart of the dispute is whether or not Napster's software helps or hurts record sales. The RIAA has used surveys showing a correlation between Napster use and decreased CD sales, while Napster on Monday armed its arsenal with data showing that Napster use actually helps CD sales..."



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