RIAA still going after Napster

Record companies still intend to press on with their piracy lawsuit against the file-swapping software makers

The recording industry is still pushing ahead with its lawsuit against Napster, despite a deal struck Tuesday between Napster and one of the record companies involved in the lawsuit.

"Today's announcement does not bring an end to the court case," said Hilary Rosen, president and chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Rosen pointed out in a statement that Bertelsmann (BMG), which is now coupled with Napster, is still a plaintiff in the piracy lawsuit now being heard by the US Court of Appeals.

Bertelsmann has agreed to dismiss its part in the suit, but only if Napster undergoes a makeover that includes charging a fee to its users.

"There are multiple plaintiffs in addition to BMG," Rosen said in a prepared statement. "The courts need to make clear that, contrary to what Napster has been claiming, companies like Napster do need to get permission before they launch businesses built on other people's creative property."

Napster attorney David Boies deflected many questions about the case during a 40-minute long teleconference. But he did say that Napster's deal with Bertelsmann involves some way of telling what songs have been downloaded legally, and which have not.

Apparently, Napster's Shawn Fanning, whose code-writing weekend created the file swapping in the first place, was writing new code for such a program, according to Napster executives. But just a few months ago, Boies was in court arguing that such software was all but impossible to create. A judge granted Napster's request for a reprieve from a shutdown until final judgement is announced in part based on Boies' argument.

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