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"The preliminary injunction issued by the district court in this matter is stayed pending further order of this court."
—Decision of the 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals

BREAKING NEWS:
NAPSTER STILL ALIVE

Whoa. Nobody Saw This Coming

by Simon Glickman and Marc Pollack

You MP3 geeks can leave your desktops and get some shut-eye: Napster has won a reprieve.

The 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday pressed the "pause" button on Judge Marilyn Patel's injunction, which was granted Wednesday, ordering the file-swapping netco to cease offering its primary service.

In a brief order, a two-judge panel said Napster could continue offering its services pending a further resolution of its case. "The preliminary injunction issued by the district court in this matter is stayed pending further order of this court," they declared, ordering Napster's appeal expedited.

The judges' decision interrupts a marathon of celebrations by the RIAA and its constituents, wailing and lamentation by the pro-Napster throng and endless postmortems by music-press nitwits like us.

Napster issued a formal statement this afternoon. "We're gratified and appreciative of the 9th Circuit Court's decision today to allow the Napster community to continue operating while our appeal of the injunction is pending," reads the quote from CEO Hank Barry. "We want to thank the Napster community for their support during this period.

"I believe the Napster technology can help everyone involved in music - including artists, consumers, and the industry," Barry's statement concludes. "New technologies can be a win-win situation if we work together on building new models - and we at Napster are eager to do so."

The Napster release also includes a statement from co-founder and developer shawn fanning',390,400);">shawn fanning',390,400);">Shawn Fanning. "I am happy and grateful that we do not have to turn away our 20 million users and that we can continue to help artists. We'll keep working and hoping for the best," it says.

Napster plans to continue its "Buycott," urging its users to buy the CDs of artists who have come out in support of its service. The list--which presumably omits one veteran heavy-metal band and one gangsta-rap innovator--appears on the Napster site.

The RIAA subsequently released a statement from chieftain hilary rosen',390,400);">hilary rosen',390,400);">Hilary Rosen.

"The Court of Appeals' decision today granting Napster a temporary stay of the preliminary injunction is obviously a disappointment," the release notes, "but we remain confident that the Court will ultimately affirm once it has had an opportunity to review the facts and the law.

"The Court of Appeals apparently regards this case as the first of its kind, and wants to consider it before any injunction takes effect. The Court's order sets an expedited schedule for that review.

"It is frustrating, of course, that the tens of millions of daily infringements occurring on Napster will be able to continue, at least temporarily," Rosen avers. "In fact, since the district court issued its order, the illegal downloading of copyrighted music openly encouraged by Napster has probably exceeded all previous records.

"We look forward to the day when the infringements finally cease."

No word yet on the likely impact of this latest decision on the relentless file-hoarding on Napster, but rumor has it the top downloads of the moment include:

"Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

"Stay" by Lisa Loeb

"Stay" by David Bowie

"Stay" by Jackson Browne

"Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees

"Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay" by Danny and the Juniors

"Stay True" by Ghostface Killa

"Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash

"Stay With Me" by Faces

"Stay the Night" by Chicago

Keeping checking here for updates on this breaking story.

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