"We've had Napster since mid-1999, and yet a lot of people covering this story don't understand the fundamental workings of the peer-to-peer system, the fact that it's an application or the fact that there's a considerable amount of authorized material circulating in the community."
—--Liz Brooks, former Napster VP, Marketing
Some People Get Their Names In Print By Talking About File-Swapping
Triumph. Disappointment. Confusion. Mild gastric distress.

It's all here, as folks from the worlds of music, technology, law and zoophilia (if you include this introduction) go on the record about today's (possibly) historic decision on the Napster injunction.

So without any further ado, let's hear from some people with no agendas of their own except to express their feelings about music and community.

Hilary Rosen, CEO, Recording Industry Association of America: "In August of 1999, RIAA contacted the management of Napster. We told them that we thought they had developed an interesting technology but that their business model was a violation of our member's copyrights. At the time they had a few thousand users. We suggested that they suspend the service and seek licenses in the same manner that all businesses that want to use copyrighted material are required to do when they start up. When they did not respond favorably, we filed a lawsuit.We did so because we believed then, and we believe now, that a business model built on infringement is not only morally and legally wrong, but it is also a threat to the development of the legitimate on-line music market. Time has proven these concerns well founded for many companies."

Metallica: "From day one, our fight has always been to protect the rights of artists who chose not to have their music exploited without consent. The court's decision validates this right and confirms that Napster was wrong in taking not only Metallica's music but other artists who do not want to be a part of the Napster system and exploiting it without their approval. We are delighted that the Court has upheld the rights of all artists to protect and control their creative efforts."

Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, CEO, BMG: "BMG remains committed to the development of secure file-sharing services that compensate our artists and other rights holders. BMG recognizes the strong consumer demand for file-sharing and will work with BeCG and Napster in developing industry-supported services that bring fans closer to their favorite artists."

Warner Music Group: "We are very pleased with today's decision. As the legal landscape of the online world becomes increasingly defined, artists, consumers, copyright holders and Internet companies alike can embrace the great potential of this medium with the confidence that the artist's work will be respected and rewarded. In a legitimate and competitive online music market, consumers can expect services that offer safe, secure and easy access to music. We are fully committed to bringing such services to market."

Universal Music Group: "We are delighted with the Ninth Circuit's decision and are confident the injunction will be in place shortly. The courts have once again affirmed the value of our artists' works and sent a clear message that copyrights must be protected online in the same manner as off-line. This decision will also benefit consumers by laying the groundwork for a legitimate online music market."

Liz Brooks, former VP Marketing, Napster: "I don't think it's anything unexpected. Everyone had to expect that some portion of the injunction would be upheld, but that as a whole it would be seen to be over broad, because it was rendered so rapidly. I still think it's incredibly apparent that most of the people covering the story don't understand the technology. We've had Napster since mid-1999, and yet a lot of people covering this story don't understand the fundamental workings of the peer-to-peer system, the fact that it's an application or the fact that there's a considerable amount of authorized material circulating in the community. It's still not understood—and I suspect not understood by a lot of people who are dealing with the legalities of the case."

Steve Gottlieb, Founder, TVT Records: "The stated principle rationale for this lawsuit was to get a legal ruling of clear value as precedent. Now that we have such a ruling, all content creators should join together in a moratorium of further legal action against Napster, and get with the program of expanding Napster's potency as a legitimate and mutually beneficial way for consumers to experience music. Suffice it to say that no matter how Judge Patel refashions the injunction against Napster, TVT will not be noticing Napster with regard to any copyright infringement and will not be taking any further steps to 'shut the system down.'"

Noah Stone, Artists Against Piracy: "We are pleased with the court's decision to uphold the fundamental elements of the injunction and we hope the message is clear: Artists' rights must be respected online. We hope that Napster will further develop and implement a business model that not only serves music fans but provides fair and appropriate compensation for the creators of that music."

Scott Ross, Director of New Media, Moonshine Records: "Quite frankly, every time I read the decision, I'm at a complete loss as to who won here. This is kind of like boxing, with Napster as the champion. Anything less than a clear victory by the RIAA means Napster gets to keep the title."

Pamela Horovitz, President, NARM: "Today's decision by the Ninth Circuit has important implications for anyone who creates, distributes, sells or uses intellectual property. NARM members are willing to invest the time, energy and cost of developing and sustaining business models that respect copyright law. We are happy to compete against any entity that obeys the law. We also believe that as copyright law is applied to digital distribution, the courts,  Congress and the marketplace must work diligently to achieve the proper balance between consumer rights and artist rights."

Dave Goldberg, CEO, Launch Media: "In the scheme of things Napster existing or being shut down, doesn't really make that much difference. Illegal downloading of music won't be stopped by the courts alone. Some other means are more technically challenging than Napster, but that's not going to stop people. This is a victory for copyright owners, and Napster will probably be essentially shut down as a result, but it doesn't mean labels can sit back and relax. In fact, they need to move faster. The labels won the battle, but it doesn't mean they won the war."

Gene Hoffman, CEO, EMusic: "Today's decision is a fair, important re-affirmation of the rights of copyright holders to be able to determine how and where their work is used. We are pleased that the district court will be issuing a new injunction against Napster that will effectively block the unauthorized distribution of music files. This should establish a clear foundation for the growth of legitimate music download services on the Internet—where artists, labels and consumers all have a voice in how digital music is enjoyed."

Gary Shapiro, President, Consumer Electronics Assn.: "We are greatly disappointed with this ruling. We believe that the Court of Appeals has ignored basic principles of copyright infringement and fair use established in the U.S. Supreme Court's Sony Betamax decision. Technological innovation helps the U.S. economy and consumers. Opponents should carry a heavy burden to show that a new technology is illegal. This ruling, unless overturned upon appeal, could stymie technological development and sets a dangerous precedent for the preservation of fair use rights enjoyed by consumers for more than 20 years. The Ninth Circuit is the same Circuit that ruled in 1981 that the VCR was illegal before the ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court. If that decision had stood, we would have no VCR or movie rentals—to the detriment of Hollywood and American consumers. We can only wonder if this ruling stands how technology and consumer access will be limited in the future."

Peter Gabriel, musician: "Musicians love the idea of all music being available to all people, but without fair payment, many musicians would have to find other ways to make a living."

Larry Miller, President, Reciprocal Entertainment: "This ruling is not surprising, particularly because once Napster realized it could not continue indefinitely in its present incarnation, they announced plans to launch a legitimate music distribution service with Bertelsmann and hopefully others. However, it's somewhat unfortunate that once Judge Patel retools her injunction, Napster will likely be shut down before it has an opportunity to migrate millions of users from the free illegal service to the paid legitimate one. Consumers will then likely turn to other illegal services, which might set the industry as a whole back even further."

Dick Wingate, Sr. VP of Content and Label Relations, Liquid Audio: "Today's ruling is in line with existing copyright law. But the ruling doesn't eliminate the threat of pirate services—there are many other alternatives waiting in the wings to take over if Napster is shut down or crippled. The pressure is still on for the Record Industry and legitimate music technologies like Liquid Audio to get an alternative service to market quickly. The process of downloading legitimate music needs to be as consumer friendly as Napster is today."

Keith Halasy, Corporate Marketing Director, CenterSpan: "It's a great, strong step to accommodating the legal rights of copyright holders and substantiates the direction we've been going in in building a system with DRM and content-tracking built in. We've been talking with labels and studios and everyone's looking for a system that works as well for rights holders as consumers. Obviously this is a first step, and I wouldn't be surprised if this goes to the Supreme Court. But we're happy to see the direction this is taking."

C. Wayne Stewart, Cato Institute: "Today's decision is not the end of the line in the debate over intellectual property on the Internet. Napster broke new ground, but it was only the beginning. Dozens of other Napster-like offerings, such as Gnutella and Zeropaid.com, will not only continue, but accelerate online file-sharing. And not just song files—the "Napsterization" of movies is already well underway."

Whitney Broussard, Attorney, Selverne, Mandelbaum and Mintz: "I think the decision highlights the difficulty inherent in solving problems such as this in the courts. Courts are very good at handing down decisions that declare one side or the other a winner. In this situation, I would venture to say that the majority of music fans (including a large percentage of label staffers) would think that the most reasonable solution would be a compromise—perhaps one in which the public had access to all of the world's music on-demand for a fair price, under a statutory or blanket license. That is not a solution that the courts can give, nor is it achievable through purely private negotiation. This is a solution only Congress can bestow."

Jack Valenti, President/CEO, Motion Picture Association of America: "The biggest beneficiary from today's decision will be the consumer, because it will encourage content owners to put their creative works online, knowing that the courts have confirmed what everybody knows: You cannot take for free what belongs to someone else. The fruits of this ruling will be seen in the film industry within six months, as studios put movies online and offer consumers an exciting new, high quality and legal opportunity to choose what they want to watch."

Rusty Harmon, manager, Hootie and the Blowfish: "As musicians and especially as songwriters, we are extremely pleased with the court's opinion. The ruling will help to assure that songwriters will continue to have the opportunity to make a living practicing their craft."

David Benjamin, interim President and co-Founder, ClickRadio: "The only thing surprising about the ruling is how long it took. If we do not support the rights and obligations we have agreed to as members of society, we throw Western Civilization out the window and set back the growth of our culture by 5000 years."

Rusty Weiss, music, entertainment and technology attorney with Morrison and Foerster: "What the ruling says is that you can't take the ostrich defense. The Court is saying that if you have the technologies and ways to police, you can't just not do it because of the fear that if you start policing you're going to have to take content down. Napster can't just stand on the sideline and say, ‘Well I don't know if I have any infringing uses.'"

Marc Geiger, CEO, ARTISTdirect: "The court's decision on Napster ends another chapter in the march towards a digital future. CLEARLY, taking copyrighted music and distributing it for free does not make sense (or we would have done it LONG before Napster), either legally or from a business perspective. HOWEVER, in the book that will be written about the rebirth of the music industry, Napster will merit a huge chapter, in that it galvanized consumers, proved demand for digital music, taught consumers how to manage digital media and popularized peer-to-peer as a distribution mechanism. Now the questions are: 1. Will the labels actually provide music the way the consumer wants it rather than the way they want to supply it? 2. What is the pricing and where are the margins?"

Angela Pumo, CEO, Everad: "I kind of feel like I'm going through Florida again—bouncing from court to court, but still with no resolution. As far as I'm concerned, we're pleased that this has happened, but at the end of the day it proves the Everad model. This really shows there's a market for free music. It's like TV and Pay TV—a certain amount of people will pay for services, but at the end of the day, give the consumer the choice. I believe we can work with every major company to derive revenue and promotion benefits from legal, free music. People are using services other than Napster."

David Hyman, President, GraceNote: "I think the labels need Napster, and shutting it down leaves them to their own ways of digitally distributing music. So far, those methods have been nothing but lackluster. Primarily they need peer-to-peer, but the Napster brand is important. Yes, you could start from scratch, but the labels won't work together on something label-agnostic. I don't think they'll ever collaborate to come up with their own product—look at SDMI. You need these third-party entities. The labels would never have created MTV. Napster is a really powerful brand, so powerful that the average consumer equates the word ‘Napster' with downloading music. They're synonymous. If they wanted to lend their name to other things, it could be really successful. If my mother and grandmother know Napster, that says a lot."

Robert Fletcher, President, ByteAudio (official statement): "Yesterday's ruling validates the rights of artists to control the rights of their creations. ByteAudio's software has always supported the right of artists and labels to set the Digital Rights Management for their work. We believe that ultimately this ruling will positively impact the consumer by enabling more artists to earn a living while creating music that the consumer desires."

Steve Young, President, American Federation of Musicians:  "This is a victory not only for the artists, but for the supporting musicians as well. Our position has always been that the development of legislation to monitor and regulate copyrighted files on the World Wide Web is imperative, as well as the technology to protect such copyrighted, digital material.  We stand behind this ruling as the first step in achieving this goal that will help create a fair and just new medium for the benefit of both musicians and fans alike."

Jeff Hanson, Manager, Creed, Full Devil Jacket, Dust For Life: "Napster has operated under the assumption that music is free, disregarding the fact that the average signed artist, whose copyrights are in question, pays between $100,000 and $300,000 to make quality recordings for the public to enjoy.  Were Napster to continue to digitally deliver artist recordings without any compensation, resulting in the artists being cut out of the financial loop, there would be no way for the artists to actually afford to create music, therefore destroying the very thing that Napster may have thought that they were promoting.  While Napster is a great way for an artist to share their music with those that can't afford it, my belief is that, if Napster were to become the standard method of digital delivery, eventually the quality of music would decline. The latest discussion of a subscription-based model seems to be the best compromise for all."

A not-so-subtle reminder to fill out that ballot. (10/15a)
The lives behind live music. (10/14a)
The Grammy chief takes our call. (10/14a)
It will rain again this fall--we guarantee it. (10/13a)
First music in 15 years. (10/14a)
Bring your umbrella.
Mulling possible surprises.
Why not wear a mask indoors?
What drugs will help us get there?

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