Deadlines set in Napster appeal

Deadlines set in Napster appeal

Napster's song-swapping service might not go back online until September under a briefing schedule released by an appeals court this week.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said Napster must submit a brief by August 9 to appeal its shutdown last week by a lower-court judge. The record labels have until September 6 to submit their response, and Napster can file its follow-up response by September 20, according to the order issued Monday but made public Tuesday.

The schedule means the appeals court is unlikely to decide whether Napster can go back online until after September 20. Napster has said it plans to replace the free service with a legal subscription music sharing system by the end of the summer.

The appeals court also could grant Napster a stay of the lower court's shutdown. A source familiar with the case said the appeals court told Napster and the record labels that it will rule "shortly" on Napster's request for a stay to the lower court's shutdown. Napster officials declined to comment.

Napster filed an emergency appeal last week after US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ordered the company to keep its service dormant. Napster CEO Hank Barry asked Patel for permission to reactivate the service when its filtering system successfully blocked 99 per cent of copyrighted material unauthorised by sharing. But Patel said Napster must remain offline until it can prove that its filtering system is 100 per cent effective.

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