|After months of relative silence, controversial music-swapping software maker, Napster filed a brief addressing concerns voiced by the Recording Industry Association of America in an injunction they filed earlier this year. Napster issued a statement Tuesday explaining the brief.
Filed jointly by two law firms representing Napster (Boies, Schiller and Flexner; Wenwick and West), the brief presents six arguments defending Napster's practices against cries of copyright infringement from the RIAA.
Napster fielded the copyright infringement claim in its first point, citing previous court decisions that allow consumers to "create and transfer digital music for noncommercial purposes." The second point cited a Supreme Court case in favor of videotape manufactorer Betamax when, in 1984, the Motion Picture Association of America claimed that Betamax would affect their markets. Napster likened itself to Betamax, which the court ruled "capable of substantial non-infringing uses."
The brief casts Napster usage as "fair use" for sampling music, claiming that over eighty-four percent of users in a study claimed to be downloading the music to determine whether or not they wanted to purchase it; Napster also cited an eight percent increase in CD sales over the past year as their defense against charges that they are hurting music sales. The company turned the copyright misuse charges against the RIAA, stating that Sony, one of the labels represented by the RIAA, is a manufacturer of a portable MP3 listening device that plays all such files, regardless of copyright. As for the RIAA's demand that Napster take down its song directory, Napster claims that the directory is protected by the First Amendment.
Napster concluded their statement about the brief with the evidence of five independent studies that found that the company has provided "substantial positive effect on music purchases and a sixth [study] finds no significant reduction in CD purchases." In addition to hurting Napster, they claim the injunction will simply fail to benefit the record labels represented by the RIAA.