99.4% ain't good enough: Judge to Napster

By Richard Menta - 7/13/01

Condoms are about 90% effective. The chances of anyone booting Windows up every time is certainly below 100%. But somehow Napster's 99.4% success rate with filtering out copyrighted songs is not good enough for the court and therefore the service must stay shut down until that number reaches perfection.


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For the record we have some doubts of even the 99.4%, though attempts to find any hit songs just prior to Napster's shutdown were met with futility. That hints Napster was pretty close.

That wasn't good enough for Judge Patel who lambasted Napster for failing to comply with the court order. She ordered the service remain offline until they remove all copyrighted material.

Our response to that is what ever happened to the legal concept of the "reasonable man"?

The "reasonable man" litmus test is the laws way to invoke good old common sense when coming to conclusions over the details and nature of a civil case. Does common sense say 99.4% is failure in this situation?

Let's put it in this perspective, is the court itself 100% effective when trying its cases? Remember now, you are under oath.

Napster CEO Hank Barry certainly doesn't think so. ``The court's ruling today that Napster must block all file transfers threatens all peer-to-peer file sharing over the Internet and is at direct odds with the 9th Circuit's ruling,'' said Barry.

Napster has already sent an appeal to 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Napster is down in the interim, finishing off a database file that will improve the ability for the service to filter out songs without also filtering out legal files. If the 9th Court does not reverse Patel's ruling, Napster could close for good.

Millions of users have already turned to Napster clones, most of them based out of the country to make it more difficult for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to sue them too. Hillary Rosen crowed triumphantly at the decision by Judge Patel. Maybe she shouldn't as we still can't figure out how she thinks she can stop a Napster clone based in, say, the Dominican Republic that will feed off Napster's death.

We give her chances of stopping such clones somewhere well below 99.4%


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