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FC: Capitol Hill won't help Napster; Napster faces whopping fine
From: Declan McCullagh <declan () well com>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 10:29:33 -0500

Sen. Leahy's statement on Napster ruling:


   Napster May Pay Dearly for This
   by Declan McCullagh (declan () wired com)
   2:00 a.m. Feb. 13, 2001 PST

   WASHINGTON -- When a federal appeals court decided the Napster case on
   Monday, it granted the embattled file-trading service a temporary stay
   of execution.

   But Napster not only has to worry about the threat of being shut down
   -- it also faces a very real possibility of whopping fines for
   copyright violations.

   The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the proceedings in the
   district court showed the company's executives had "actual and
   constructive" knowledge that not-exactly-legal MP3 swapping was

   Translation: Statutory damages that could quickly add up to big bucks.
   A federal judge in New York ruled last year, for instance, that
   MP3.com was liable for $25,000 in damages for each CD copied.

   "It's extremely likely that Napster will have a very large financial
   judgment against them," said R. Polk Wagner, an assistant professor at
   the University of Pennsylvania's law school.



   Congress Sits Back and Listens
   by Declan McCullagh (declan () wired com) and Ryan Sager
   2:00 a.m. Feb. 13, 2001 PST

   WASHINGTON -- Neither Napster nor the recording industry should expect
   any help from Capitol Hill.

   Republican and Democratic legislators signaled Monday that the lawsuit
   wending its way through a federal appeals court is one high-stakes
   tussle that nobody in town wants to get involved with.

   The lengthy decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is based
   on fine points of copyright law -- such as the Audio Home Recording
   Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- and any changes to the
   law could improve the chances of either the plaintiffs or the
   defendant winning their case.

   That is, if Congress wanted to intervene.

   "I don't think you're going to see legislation in the Congress.... We
   just spent years trying to get things right," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte
   (R-Va), at a techissues.net event on Capitol Hill. "Things are
   changing much too fast for us to jump in and try to get it right a
   second time."

   "I think that the decision that has been handed down is a very
   important one.... It allows the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to do
   its job," said Goodlatte, a longtime ally of content owners and
   co-chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus. "We are going to
   want to see how the appellate decision and the re-crafted stay order
   actually work."


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