A court ruling on Tuesday forces Napster to remove all copyright-protected material from its MP3-swapping service within three days.
However, the decision is seen as something of a victory for Napster, as the record industry has been told to assist -- by identifying the infringing files. Other observers fear that the ruling could force Napster to close.
Napster has made several attempts to reach a settlement with the major record labels. Its first attempt -- offering them a $1bn settlement over five years -- was dismissed as a headline-grabbing PR stunt. The company then announced that it has developed software filters that will prevent copyright-protected tunes from being traded on Napster, although reports suggest these haven't been fully implemented yet.
If it manages to survive its legal battles then Napster may have a future, because Universal Music, the world's largest label, has indicated the two companies might be able to work together.
Napster verdict: three days to block songs
Tue, 06 Feb Ruling forces music industry to identify songs it wants removed from Napster, and gives the music swapping service 72 to hours to comply with each request Universal throws Napster a lifeline
Tue, 06 Feb If Napster respects copyright and enforces decent encryption, the world's largest music publisher might let it licence songs Napster fans: Where's the loyalty?
Mon, 05 Mar Their beloved song-swapping service dragged into court and facing a possible shutdown, Napster fans are already plotting other ways to continue trading free music online Napster to voluntarily halt song trades
Mon, 05 Mar Service will filter out thousands of song names, but risks alienating users Napster could close today
Fri, 02 Mar Time is running out for music-swapping company Napster, which faces the possibility of a court order effectively shutting its service down as soon as today Napster blamed for plunge in singles sales
Mon, 26 Feb Music industry says that downloading songs off the Internet is responsible for a big drop in the number of singles shipped in the US Napster requests hearing before full Appeals Court
Mon, 26 Feb 2001 The one billion dollar offer went down like a lead balloon, so Napster tries another tactic Napster offers billion dollar sweetener
Wed, 21 Feb Record labels say Napster needs a compelling business model -- $1bn is just not enough Music labels are not taking Napster's bait
Wed, 21 Feb Napster offers a billion dollars to the record industry in exchange for letting it continue Take me to the MP3 Special COMMENT
Positive poppycock about CDs and MP3
Many MP3 'downloaders' proclaim that the way music is sold will be change, but no one seems to ask -- who pays for the recordings they are downloading? Chris Long says he is not trying to defend the record companies that are over-bloated, over-drugged and overdrawn at the morality bank, but he is trying to cut through the nonsense that is talked about the MP3 market. Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the Napster Debate. Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.