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Napster CEO, Founder Respond To Napster Ruling

Hank Barry, CEO, issued the following statment following the Feb. 12 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals ruling against the song-swapping company:

"We are disappointed in today's ruling. Under this decision Napster could be shut down — even before a trial on the merits. The Court today ruled on the basis of what it recognized was an incomplete record before it. We look forward to getting more facts into the record. While we respect the Court's decision, we believe, contrary to the Court's ruling today, that Napster users are not copyright infringers and we will pursue every legal avenue to keep Napster operating.

In the meantime, we intend to continue our discussions with the record companies. We have been saying all along that we seek an industry-supported solution that makes payments to artists, songwriters and other rightsholders while preserving the Napster file sharing community experience.

On Oct. 31, we announced an alliance with Bertelsmann around a business model for a membership-based service that does just that.

Since that time, we have successfully reached agreements with two important independent distributors, Edel in Germany and TVT in the U.S. In fact, TVT dropped their lawsuit against Napster last month. And we have been engaged in serious negotiations with several major record labels. These efforts will continue.

The Napster community is about the love of music. Napster community members love music and purchase far more CDs than most people. They share files with no expectation of gain. We have again and again stated that we intend to make payments to artists, songwriters and other rightsholders. Yet the largest and most successful media companies in the world have taken aim at our more than 50 million users, and today they have landed a blow. We will respond and deal with this situation in the courts.

The court also very narrowly interpreted the Congress's intent when it comes to licensing, and we have seen that this is an issue of concern to the Congress. We encourage members of our community to contact their representatives to let Congress know how much Napster means to them. Meanwhile, we will get back to work in finding the best way to harness these great new technologies to benefit listeners and artists alike.

Finally, even if Napster file sharing is shut down while our trial is pending, we will do whatever we can to work within the limits of the injunction to continue to provide more than 50 million Napster community members access to music."

Shawn Fanning, founder of Napster adds:

"I'd like to add a word or two about the future of Napster. As many of you know, we've been developing a Napster service that offers additional benefits to members of the community and, importantly, makes payments to artists. I'm focused on building this better service and I still hope to have it in place this year. The new technologies we are developing are amazing; I hope that, by further court review or by agreement with the record companies, we can find a way to share them with the community.

I would also like to thank everyone for being so supportive. Napster works because people who love music share and participate. Along the way, many people said it would never work. We've heard that we couldn't survive before — when we had 700,000 members, and when we had 17 million members.

Today we have more than 50 million members, and we'll all find a way to keep this community growing. If we work together and let Members of Congress know how important Napster is to us, we'll succeed. Thanks."