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CNN Today

Napster Still In Business, For Now

Aired February 12, 2001 - 2:38 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: And now to federal court ruling one hour and 38 minutes old right now that for the moment, allows you to keep uploading and downloading music for free on Napster. It could be short song, though, for the hugely popular Web site.

CNN's Allison Tom joins us with more on what it all means for music lovers and do we know, Allison, what it does mean for music lovers?

ALLISON TOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are figuring that out, Lou. We are going forward and trying to figure out through all legalese as to what exactly this means. But right now, as you mentioned, yes that Napster is still up and running and will be that way for at least a couple more days.

Early, in their Web site, they had said that people, and they appreciated their support that they had from all of the Internet user on this Web site. They said that up until Friday they would have all the information here and they will still give updates. So, this is where a lot of their Internet users are trying to give them latest information as it's coming in.

Now, we wanted to mention, too, that there are still a lot of other alternative Web sites that have a lot of information where users who can go there instead of going to Napster if they're still trying to get information and getting specific songs and music, things by artists here that we have.

So Gnutella is one that is still up and running and it has a lot of information. It's a little bit different from Napster in the sense that it's a decentralized server. So, it doesn't actually have a central location where the information is coming and going to.

Now, another site that were going to take you to it Aimster.com. This site also has free download for Internet users to use. What they have that's a little bit different than other ones like Napster is that they have an area on a buddy list so that you know who you're exchanging information back and forth to. So really it gives a little bit more of a sense of security as to what kind of information and who is sending these files.

Lastly, we have another site here called iMesh.com, and this is a similar Web site as well. Gives you a lot of the information and keep in mind, Lou, that on a lot of these Web sites you can get, in addition to music, you can get streaming audio and video and a lot of other photos. So, much more than just music itself.

And actually, if we want, we can go to as well -- of course, the United States court, the 9th Court District has their Web site. We've been trying to refresh it from time to time, but we really haven't had anything more. They still have their old information they had up there this morning and the RAA as well. They have not updated anything quite recently since the ruling had come down.

Lou, back to you.

WATERS: We have to backtrack a little bit, Allison, because of the original injunction by the judge, and that injunction being appealed today and now the couple days we have wait for final decision that you mentioned is based upon a redrafting of the original injunction which the federal appeals court said was overly broad. What was overly broad?

TOM: Well, a couple things. I mean, one is that it's not really clear as to how we're going to handle this. There's so much information and whether or not Napster itself can really filter out and figure out who is coming in and what kind of information.

Of course, we've seen in the past as this has been going on for several months, but a lot of the users, they can actually channel them back as to who exactly these people are.

But at the same time, Napster says that if they are shut down, they can't filter out which materials or songs are copyrighted and which ones aren't. However, it's important to note, Lou, that a lot industry analysts say. I bet there's a way that that can be done, and they think that if Napster has only one option that they will likely find some sort of way to actually filter out the copyrighted material.

WATERS: So, I'm hearing you say that Napster most likely will remain in business?

TOM: Well, that's the hope. And of course, there is the partnership with Bertelsmann, the German media giant there. They have the partnership and they're hoping, of course, to make some sort of profit with this.

Whether or not this changes Napster into a subscription-based service, that's a very likely possibility. That may be one way where maybe Internet users will pay $5, for instance, for a month just so that they can download certain songs. We really have yet to see what's going to happen.

WATERS: OK, well, we'll have to watch that lower court injunction and how it is redrafted as it's passed back on up to the appeal court.

We are awaiting Napster's reaction to all of this. They called a news conference for any time now. As soon as that happens, we'll check in with and see what they have to say, whether they're about their future because of this ruling.

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