Napster appeals court ruling

The company has filed a petition for a rehearing in the court ruling that found the company in violation of copyright law. Napster is requesting that the full Ninth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals hear the case, the company said in a statement.

The petition, in effect an appeal to the full court, is Napster's last avenue of appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The company said it has not yet decided whether it would take the case to the US Supreme Court, its final option.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in the case on 12 February, in a decision that was a major victory for record companies and has put Napster on the defensive.

In a recent salvo, the company offered $US1 billion in payments to the record companies in return for rights to their music, an initiative that was mocked by recording industry representatives.

Napster called the panel's ruling "overbroad," adding that it would violate the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of free speech, as well as undermine provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protecting the rights of Internet Service Providers.

The company also said that an injunction halting the exchange of music would put the brakes on the development of new technology.

"A compulsory royalty, rather than an injunction, would be the proper means to harmonise rights holder protection with promotion of new technologies used for noncommercial copying," Napster said.

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