By Robert Menta- 7/19/01
``The Beta version of the new Napster will be available before the new service launches, and we'll be looking for your feedback on our new features, the ease of use, and of course, identifying the inevitable bugs,'' said Napster in an email to users who registered for the company's beta test of its new subscription service.
With those words the company, which has been shuttered since July 2nd, announced that it is about to return with a launch of a second-phase, beta test of Pay Napster.
This announcement capped of an important ruling in Napster's favor by the federal appeals court that gave the company permission to resume the service. That ruling is crucial for Napster because without it, the company might be prevented from launching its beta.
The decision overruled a previous ruling by federal Judge Marilyn Hall Patel on July 11. The judge told Napster that their voluntary shutdown was now a court-imposed shutdown until it could block every single copyrighted file from its service. She dismissed Napster's claim of 99.4% effectiveness as not good enough telling the company that it must stay offline until it reached 100% effectiveness (see 99.4% ain't good enough: Judge to Napster).
Napster immediately appealed that decision and successfully got the ruling reversed. Jonathan Schwartz, Napster's general counsel, said "We're pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals granted our request for a stay".
This news is a clear win for the company, but getting back on the Net is only a first step for Napster. The real goal is giving users a compelling reason to pay for the new service. Napster users have flooded to free alternative services that don't encumber the user with file filtering. This week MusicCity's Morpheus, arguably the best of the Napster clones, broke half a million consecutive users, more that what Napster was pulling just before the service shut down.
Now they have to get those users back.
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