February 12, 2001 – An interesting day for the courts and the Music Business in general. Popular song-file swap service Napster was spared from an immediate shutdown today, but a US appeals court ruled in favor of the five recording companies who were suing the company for copyright infringement.
The US ninth circuit court of appeals upheld most parts of an injunction brought against Napster by BMG, EMI, Sony, Warner, and Universal to stop trading in advance of the trial.
The court ruled that Napster may have violated the law by allowing internet users to swap copyrighted music files, but stopped short of closing the site down.
The long-term result was that it did effectively close down Napster as a free file-sharing site. However, it did pave the way for “legitimate” music sharing services to spring into action – and that would trigger a whole different set of controversies regarding royalties and percentages which have never been adequately addressed or investigated. And a whole sub-genre of clandestine file sharing services which would plague the industry to the present day.
In other news – A computer virus masquerading as a photo of Anna Kournikova was making the rounds. No Kournikova photo, but a nasty virus that would send itself to everyone in your address book. It wasn’t going to wipe out your computer, but it was going to turn you into a virus carrier. Swell.
And good news from NASA – The NEAR-Shoemaker Space, completed five years and two billion miles of space exploration made a spectacular soft-landing on an Asteroid. Scientists were stunned by the clarity of the images that the NEAR Space Probe continued to send, even as it glided to the surface of the Asteroid Aeros. Scientists said the surface of Aeros was like nothing they’d ever seen; with huge craters and boulders covering the potato shaped Asteroid. They had some tens of thousands of images conveyed by NEAR from 200 million miles in space.
All that, and a lot more for this February 12, 2001 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup Late Edition.