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. The Association filed its brief to express its concern that decisions such as Patel’s could have a harmful impact on technological development and the growth of the digital economy.

GEEKS STRIKE BACK IN NAPSTER CASE

Well, The Digital Media Association Filed A Friend-Of-The-Court Brief—But They Hate Confrontation, So This Was A Big Step For Them
An amicus brief will be filed in the Napster case by a group of netcos represented by trade group the Digital Media Association (DiMA) today, The Standard reported. The coalition includes such members as America Online, Yahoo!, Liquid Audio, RealNetworks and recent addition Soundbreak.com.

The group believes Judge Marilyn Patel's injunction against Napster—which was subsequently put on hold by an appeals court—represents a failure to apply properly the precedent set by the Supreme Court in Universal vs. Sony, commonly known as the Betamax decision.

The decision's logic, that technology with "substantial non-infringing uses" should not be suppressed simply because it has potentially illicit applications, was essentially waved away by Judge Patel, whose hostility to Napster's arguments last month was evident.

The group's attorney, Bruce Joseph, told The Standard that DiMA is "taking a neutral position" on Napster's culpability with respect to copyright. The Association filed its brief to express its concern that decisions such as Patel's could have a harmful impact on technological development and the growth of the digital economy.

AOL's pending merger with Time Warner, parent of plaintiff Warner Bros. Records, could complicate its stand in this case; the online champ has been forced repeatedly to police its tech staff in light of its planned marriage to the terrestrial content house. AOL subsid Nullsoft was forced to shutter its Gnutella operation immediately upon its launch. Gnutella subsequently became freeware.

Filings from both Napster and the RIAA are expected by the middle of next month, after which a second hearing will be scheduled on the proposed injunction.

Added one tech-company executive, "My watch can tell the weather in Brazil. Wanna see?"

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