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Recording Industry Files Response to Napster Injunction Appeal

Aired July 28, 2000 - 1:17 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Napster fans are rushing to download all the free music they can before midnight tonight. After that, most of the files on the Web site will be removed by order of a court injunction. The injunction is part of that lawsuit filed against Napster by the Recording Industry Association of America. Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, is a member of that organization.

CNN's Rusty Dornin looks at how Napster is fighting the lawsuit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Regardless of whether it's swapping, sharing or stealing, Napster attorneys say a court order to stop providing copyrighted music on the Internet will effectively cripple the company.

"This would essentially destroy Napster as a business and deprive the more than 20 million users of their service; 40 employees will have to be laid off within a matter of days."

The company that grew out of music-swapping in Shawn Fanning's dorm room argues that it can't separate out copyrighted music from other music because the recording industry, the plaintiffs in this suit, won't give them a list.

DAVID BOIES, NAPSTER ATTORNEY: Since the plaintiffs have not been able, in six months, to identify what songs they say they have copyrights in, there's no way that Napster's going to be able to do that.

DORNIN: The band, Metallica, which sued Napster, says the Web site allowed 300,000 users to download their music. Infringement like that, legal counsel for the recording industry says, make it apparent Napster wasn't complying with the law.

JEFF G. KNOWLES, RECORDING INDUSTRY ATTORNEY: If they want to have a trial, it's possible. But this preliminary injunction, I think, sends the message that it is not OK to build your business on the backs of the creative works of songwriters and music publishers and others who have the right to control and be compensated for their creative work.

DORNIN: If the appeals court refuses to throw out the injunction set to begin Friday night, then Napster must stop giving away music until it's day in court.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DORNIN: Now, just about an hour ago, the Recording Industry Association filed its response to Napster's appeal to have the injunction removed. In it, it backed up the judge's arguments and said that Napster's claims that the injunction would put it out of business are both untrue and legally irrelevant.

Now, the ruling will come out of the San Francisco Appeals Court, but the judges are actually -- one of them is in Phoenix, one of them is in Pasadena, and there is another in Idaho. Now, they could throw out the injunction, they could rule to let it stand, they could ask for oral arguments, or they could do absolutely nothing, which would mean the injunction would take place at midnight and Napster would have to stop giving out music at midnight Pacific time.

Now, meantime, of course, music lovers are busy going to the Napster site and downloading as much as they can in case this court turns off the tunes forever.

Rusty Dornin, reporting live in San Francisco.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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