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CNN Today

Federal Court Tells Napster to Stop Trading Copyrighted Material

Aired February 12, 2001 - 4:05 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, the dot.com world took another big hit today when a federal court slapped Napster. The court told that hugely popular music-swapping service to stop trading copyrighted materials.

CNN's Rusty Dornin is standing by in San Francisco to report on the ruling being dissected today from one end of cyberspace right to the other -- Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a little bit confusing, Joie. The circuit court did send back the injunction back to the lower court. So it's clear Napster will be shut down in its present form. It's just unclear when or exactly the scope of that injunction.

Now, the record industry, of course, is claiming a clear victory. Napster officials held a press conference here in San Francisco. They say they are, of course, disappointed about today's ruling and say it is a big blow to the music swapping business, but that they will continue to provide some access to music even if Napster is shut down in its present form.

Now, Napster founder Shawn Fanning says this is not the end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN FANNING, CO-FOUNDER, NAPSTER: Napster works because people who love music share and participate. Along the way, many people have said it would never work. We've heard that we couldn't survive before when we had 700,000 members and when we had 17 million members. Today, we have more than 50 million members and we'll find a way to keep this community growing.

If we work together, I know this will succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DORNIN: Well, apparently, also Fanning said that he is committed to building a business that pays artist. Now there is a subscription business that's supposedly supposed come online sometime this summer where users would pay a fee to be able to access some of the recording companies that have signed on with Napster. One of them is Bertelsmann, the German music giant. And also Napster officials said that there are 40,000 artists that they have signed with now that they could put out, because they do have copyright agreements with.

So it's unclear whether they will shut down entirely or whether they would be able to trade that music until they've started this other service -- Joie.

CHEN: All right. CNN's Rusty Dornin following up the Napster case, the latest decision in it for us from San Francisco today.

So the questions this afternoon are what is happening with the Napster site at this very moment and what will Napster users do now.

CNN interactive correspondent Allison Tom is in front of our big board.

Allison, show it to us. What does the Napster site look like right now?

ALLISON TOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Joie. Right now, it doesn't look really that different than it did this morning before the ruling actually came down. We have the site up here right now as you can see, and again, it's pretty much laid out the same way that it was earlier this morning. They do have some news flash information highlighting what has happened in regards to the ruling that happened a couple of hours ago. But other than that, it pretty much is the same, and in fact, millions of users, millions of fans of Napster are still going online and downloading lots of music -- Joie.

CHEN: OK. But if you don't want to use Napster because for whatever reason -- you don't want to get involved in all this -- and you are the sort of person who does this sort of thing, which probably puts them closer to your age than mine, is this the only place you can go to on the Web to download music? Are there other options?

TOM: Absolutely. There are lots of other options. We're going to show you a couple of them. These are just three that we have highlighted. One is called Gnutella. Now, again, this is where a lot of people can exchange information. Gnutella works on a decentralized servers. So the way that it is, is that people exchange information, but there's no actual central location for them.

Now, another site that I'm going to take you to is Aimster.com. This site works a little bit differently in the sense that you can have a buddy list. You create who's going to be sending you the information or the files. That way you know on the other end who's receiving and who these are from. And it acts as a little bit more of a secure server so that people can have a better idea as to where the information is coming and going.

Lastly of course, we have Imesh.com. Similar site like Napster. What they do here is you can download a lot of different kinds of information. Very easy to do, Joie, and it's also free to do on most of them. But keep in mind that in addition to music, you can also download any files like video or photos. So there's a lot of other applications that you can do with it.

CHEN: I don't know, Allison, it sounds like all these sites seem very Similar to Napster. But what's happening here in these legal maneuvers, they don't affect these other sites. It's only Napster they're after.

TOM: Right. Actually, this one in particular is only after Napster. Now, you have to keep in mind that each of the sites operate a little bit differently. Napster is based on a centralized server so that is different compared to, say, Gnutella, which is based on a decentralized server. So some of them do have a few differences, and those are what are going to set them apart and keep them out of this legal wrangling that we're seeing here.

CHEN: All right, Allison Tom from CNN Interactive joining us with details there.

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