The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed a suit against MP3 music site Napster, accusing it of operating as a haven of online piracy.
It is charging the site with copyright infringement and alleges that it has created a base for music piracy on an unprecedented scale.
Napster claims that it is trying to promote unknown bands in the same way as sites such as MP3.com. However once users have downloaded the Napster software and log onto the company's servers their personal MP3 collections -- which could include copyrighted material -- are available for download by any other users who are logged on at the same time. Napster operates in a grey legal area, as no copyrighted music actually resides on its servers.
The RIAA, wants a bit more black and white, and has garnered the support of a raft of music industry bigwigs in its attempt to eradicate the Napster community.
"I couldn't believe it when I found out that Napster was linking thousands of people to the Notorious BIG album," said Sean 'Puffy' Combs. "Every artist Napster abuses deserves respect."
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