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"This hearing was Napsters attempt to escape responsibility for aiding and abetting wide-scale piracy andnot surprisinglythey lost."
—Hilary Rosen, RIAA
NAPSTER CASE TO MOVE FORWARD
A Big Loss Or A Chance To Be Heard, Depending On The Spin Your Prefer
Digital-music lightning rod Napster was either handed a crippling blow or given an opportunity to defend itself on several counts today, depending on whether you get your news from the popular but controversial netco or label plaintiffs' rep the RIAA.

Napster was denied a summary judgment in the record companies' lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel. The jurist refused to allow Napster's claim that it was a "mere conduit" of the disputed (and frequently illicit) MP3 music files traded on its service and ruled the case would move to trial.

To an unbiased observer like RIAA head hilary rosen',390,400);">hilary rosen',390,400);">Hilary Rosen, "This hearing was Napster's attempt to escape responsibility for aiding and abetting wide-scale piracy and—not surprisingly—they lost."

Napster—also not surprisingly—declined to accept defeat, at least for now. Attorney Laurence Pulgram of San Francisco-based Fenwick & West LLP averred that he hadn't yet received the entire ruling, but underscored that several points urged by Napster's defense had not been ruled out by Judge Patel, notably that the service has "substantial non-infringing uses." This wording, borrowed from the Supreme Court ruling in the precedent-setting Betamax case (Sony vs. Universal), points to the claim that any technology that has legal uses (such as the private trading of free promotional MP3s) should not be handcuffed for its potentially illegal ones.

Publicists from both sides said they look forward to writing many more press releases.

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