Napster has successfully challenged the injunction imposed on it by a Californian court.
As reported in our bulletin last week, the injunction was granted at the request of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to prevent Napster from allowing its software to facilitate the illegal sharing of copyright recordings owned by its record company members. Napster had unsuccessfully argued that this would effectively mean shutting the web site down since it cannot differentiate between uses that infringe copyright and uses that do not.
The RIAA started proceedings against Napster last year, claiming that the service Napster provides constitutes contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Napster tried and failed to have the proceedings dismissed summarily and the RIAA’s request for an injunction followed.
On 28 July, before the injunction took effect, Napster appealed for a stay pending an appeal hearing to allow Napster to continue to operate until the RIAA’s action against Napster is heard at some time in the future (but which will not take place until after the appeal hearing).
In granting Napster’s request, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that Napster had “raised substantial questions going to the merits and form of the injunction”.
The Appeal Court also ordered the appeal to be expedited, with Napster due to file its opening arguments by 18 August.