BEHIND THE GROOVES: a music blog by Jeff Harris

On this day in music history: July 26, 2000 - The P2P file sharing service Napster is ordered by a US federat judge to cease trading copyrighted music on their website within 48 hours. The music focused online website founded by Shawn Fanning, John Fanning and Sean Parker in 1999, is the subject of lawsuits of numerous recording artists like Metallica, Dr. Dre and various record labels when they find the sites millions of users illegally downloading mp3 digital files of their music. Metallica will discover that a demo version of their song “I Disappear” (from the as yet to be released film “Mission Impossible 3”) is being freely circulated before the song is even released. Also the single “Music” by Madonna” is also leaked on to the website before its official release. Among the allegations leveled at Napster include That its users were directly violating the plaintiffs’ copyrights. That Napster was responsible for contributory infringement of the plaintiffs’ copyrights. And that Napster was responsible for vicarious infringement of the plaintiffs’ copyrights. Napster will lose the case in District Court and is forced to close the website, though they will file an appeal. In May of 2002, Napster will announce that is selling its assets to the German media firm Bertlesmann for $85 million, then filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 3rd. An American bankruptcy court will block the sale on September 3, 2002, forcing Napster into Chapter 7 status, making them liquidate their assets. Napster’s brand and logo trademarks are purchased in an auction by Roxio who will rebrand their Pressplay paid music download service “Napster 2.0”. Roxio will sell Napster to Best Buy who in turn will sell it to Rhapsody in 2011, who is now the current owner. 

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