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RIAA RESPONDS TO
NAPSTER BRIEF

Children Run Into Next Room To Cry, Hate It When Mommy & Daddy Fight
As expected, the recording industry filed a response to Napster's latest legal defense on Thursday (7/13), rejecting the software-company's position that it bears no liability for the music traded by its users because the practice is legal (hitsdailydouble.com, 7/13).

The latest brief comes on the heels of Napster's July 3 motion claiming that the online trading of digital music files falls within the parameters of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, which permits copying music for personal use (hitsdailydouble.com, 7/4).

The RIAA, which is suing Napster of behalf of the major record labels for copyright infringement, responded that the federal law provides no legal haven for such action.

Napster contends the company's behavior is an extension of the "fair use" doctrine that, for example, allows someone who buys a CD to also record it on tape for listening on a car stereo while driving to work. But that argument hasn't found much support outside Napster's defense team: Most copyright experts say the fair-use doctrine applies to personal use within a household, not to sharing music files with hundreds or even thousands of strangers via the Internet.

"The truth is, the making and distributing of unauthorized copies of copyrighted works by Napster users is not 'sharing,' any more than stealing apples from your neighbor's tree is 'gardening,'" the RIAA wrote in its reply, which was filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

The RIAA reply notes that Napster's own Web site contains a warning to users that unauthorized copying of copyrighted works constitutes infringement—a cautionary note seemingly at odds with Napster's current defense strategy.

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