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THE RAP AGAINST NAPSTER

Controversial File-Sharing Software Knocked Off Cable As Court Decision Looms
[email protected] subscribers apparently can't have their Napster if they also want access to Tommy and Pamela Lee's home videos.

The Internet cable service provider told 350 of its subscribers to stop using the music exchange program or lose their accounts. Cox's user agreement limits network traffic from any single account to 500MB per 24 hours and forbids running server software, such as Napster. In an e-mail sent to the offending users to remind them of the policy, Napster was mentioned by name. A second e-mail was sent out later offering paid downloads of Englebert Humperdinck's greatest hits.

This is the first time that a consumer ISP has taken exception to the MP3 swapping program. It follows battles on university campuses regarding the use of network resources in relation to the MP3 swapping program. Napster uses a tremendous amount of bandwidth; in the case of Indiana University, it was estimated at 50-75% of total resources, before being restricted. Other schools have followed suit.

The RIAA is suing Napster for copyright infringement because of the software's ease in allowing users to make and trade illegal copies of music. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel cancelled Monday's (4/10) scheduled hearing. A new date has not been set.

Napster co-founder Sean Parker and RIAA attorney John Simon will be appearing tomorrow (4/14) at Indiana University on a panel titled, "Napster and the Future of Music on the Internet."

Musicians are now starting to publicly enter the debate. The RIAA has stepped up the attack on Napster, enlisting artists such as Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Elton John and Lou Reed to speak against it. Everclear's Art Alexakis says, "I think the fact that Napster is stealing recorded music is something that we have to stop. It's taking money out of my kid's mouth. That's the way I look at it." Hope he doesn't choke on the quarters, dude.

Songwriter Rickie Lee Jones recently opined just the opposite: "I like this Napster discussion. I like to see things shaking up the incredibly rotund mass that the record business has become. It is bloated with greed and money. We make a good living doing a lovely job. We are lucky we don't have to work for half the minimum wage because some asshole might tip us a buck for his sandwich."

That reminds me. When does lunch get here?

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