Napster banned at 34% of colleges: Gartner

By : |August 31, 2000 0

STAMFORD: Thirty-four per cent of 50 US colleges and universities have banned students from using Napster Inc.’s song-swap service on their campuses, said a report released on Wednesday by research firm Gartner Group Inc.

Among the 17 colleges that banned Napster were New York University and Kent State, while Columbia University, Harvard and Stanford University are allowing students to access Napster.

Napster Chief Executive Officer Hank Barry responded to the survey in a written statement by saying the company was “pleased that two-thirds of the schools polled in the survey will allow students to participate in the Napster community.”

Gartner said Napster is raising several moral and legal issues for the schools as they prepare for the fall session, with administrators quickly making ban/no ban decisions and writing up policies to address these concerns.

“I would not want to be the university president who neglected to update the school policy regarding music downloads this year,” added Gartner e-Business Services group principal analyst Robert Labatt. “Long legal battles can be costly, and one school could easily be singled out to set a legal precedent this year.”

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court set the week of Oct. 2 for opening arguments in the trial pitting music Napster against some of the giants of the recording industry.

The same court last month granted Napster a last-minute reprieve by staying a judge’s order that would have immediately shut down the service, which boasts more than 20 million users.

The landmark copyright lawsuit lodged against Napster by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) contends the service – which lets fans swap songs for free by trading MP3 files, a compression format that turns music on compact discs into small computer files – facilitates music piracy.

In the suit, Napster faces a collection of the most powerful recording companies in the country including Seagram Co. Ltd.’s Universal Music, Bertelsmann AG’s BMG, Sony Corp.’s Sony Music, Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Music Group and EMI.

Officials at Napster have said they hope to settle the legal battle out of court, but the recording industry has been less than enthusiastic.

(C) Reuters Limited 2000.

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