The move is an about-face for the university, which last September rejected a request by heavy metal band Metallica to ban Napster. At the time, Stanford lawyers said in a statement that "in the absence of any specific legal or factual basis for your demand, Stanford declines to limit access to Napster."
Not all universities took the same stance. Some schools have banned Napster from their campuses for bandwidth and legal issues, including Yale University, Oregon University and Northwestern University.
With Stanford's policy change, students and faculty may still have intermittent access to Napster. In an e-mail sent to university members Friday, the school's information technology department explained that the service will not be banned but that new tools will give entertainment sites such as Napster "a lower priority."
The limitations at Stanford come as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sent a preliminary injunction against Napster back to a district court with instructions for creating a new injunction. The new injunction should require Napster to block access to copyrighted works, the appellate court wrote.