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Napster adds some political muscle
(IDG) -- Controversial song-swapping service Napster announced Thursday that it had hired a senior aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to oversee policy issues that affect Napster and those who use it.
Manus Cooney, Hatch's key policy adviser, will join Napster in January.
"Manus Cooney joining our team ensures that Napster's more than 44 million users will be well-represented in the coming critical policy debates over how to best grow and share the benefits of new technologies," says Napster CEO Hank Barry.
Napster has been at ground zero in the contentious debate over copyright issues on the Internet. The recording industry has sued to close the service, and an appeals court in San Francisco is deliberating a preliminary injunction against the company that was later stayed.
In October, German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, whose record group is involved in the litigation against Napster, extended a loan and took options on a stake in the company, further complicating the landscape.
Hatch is no stranger to Napster and the controversy surrounding the company. He invited the company's 19-year-old founder, Shawn Fanning, to Capitol Hill to speak about the company's peer-to-peer technology.
Hatch also wrote a letter to the appeals court hearing the case on behalf of Napster, saying that a Copyright Office brief filed on behalf of the recording industry didn't represent the opinion of the entirety of the U.S. government.
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