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"[The Appeals Court didn’t] "rubber-stamp the District Court’s decision. They decided to take time to look at the merits of the preliminary injunction. It’s really difficult to bet on either side."
——Rusty Weiss,
Attorney

INJUNCTION JUNCTION,
WHAT’S YOUR FUNCTION?

Napster Ruling Comes Just In Time
For Valentine’s Day
Just when you thought it was never going to come, it's time to plan your ruling parties, kiddies, cuz the appellate judges have awakened at last from their winter's slumber.

After "deliberating" since Oct. 2, next Monday (2/12) at 11 a.m. PST, the up-and-coming power trio of U.S. 9th District Court judges—Mary Schroeder, Robert Beezer and Richard Paez, for those of you keeping score at home—is releasing the loooooong-awaited Napster ruling.

This ruling, you'll no doubt recall, is on whether or not the preliminary injunction laid down on the swappery by Judge Marilyn Patel will shut the site down while a trial happens. A trial date cannot be set until the appeal is settled.

Rusty Weiss, an attorney at Morrison & Foerster, says that the length of deliberation points out that the Appeals Court didn't "rubber-stamp the District Court's decision. They decided to take time to look at the merits of the preliminary injunction." That does not mean that the Court's decision can be predicted: "Bottom line is, there's no crystal ball to know what happened. It's really difficult to bet on either side." Weiss expects a thorough written decision.

Napster had no comment on the announcement; RIAA ruler Hilary Rosen, of course, did: "We're confident that the Ninth Circuit understands the severity of our claim and will uphold the decision of the U.S. Federal Court.  Monday's decision may finally clear the way for the legitimate online marketplace to thrive in an environment that encourages both creativity and a respect for copyright."

Speaking of respect for copyright, good luck getting on Napster this weekend.

In related news, the RIAA has named Matthew Oppenheim as head of its litigation department. Oppenheim will report to RIAA EVP and general counsel Cary Sherman.

Watch this (digital) space for further revelations as they happen.

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