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Posted 12 Mar 2001   For week ended February 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 24Feb01

By Paul Carter

Hatch's Napster Plans

WASHINGTON, DC -- In the wake of the appeals court ruling against the Internet company Napster, Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has stated that Napster's loss may be a loss for general music audiences as well.

The Senator's remarks came in a speech from the Senate floor as he outlined several issues which will likely have the attention of the Senate Judiciary Committee this year. As Chairman of the Committee, his comments last week noted Internet domain name registration, on-line privacy, copyrights, government involvement in cyberspace, and free-speech concerns as matters of public interest where Judiciary Committee hearings may be warranted. It was in regard to copyright matters that Senator Hatch referred to Napster:

"My feeling about this Ninth Circuit decision is a gnawing concern that this legal victory for the record labels may prove pyrrhic or short-sighted from a policy perspective. The Napster community represents a huge consumer demand for the kind of online music services Napster, rightly or wrongly, has offered and, to date, the major record labels have been unable to satisfy."

The ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, also weighed in on the Napster decision with a view differing from Senator Hatch. Senator Leahy suggested in a statement Tuesday that the ruling against Napster was a win for both the music industry and consumers:

"While Napster customers may not initially see it that way, the availability of new music and other creative works -- and its contributions to the vibrancy of our culture and in fueling our economy --depends on clearly understood and adequately enforced copyright protection," said Senator Leahy.

Senator Hatch's remarks did not go unnoticed at Napster. Hank Barry, Napster's CEO, responded to Hatch's statement by saying, "I have contacted the RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America] about how to best work with Sen. Hatch on moving forward toward an agreement, which we have been seeking for nearly a year. As Senator Hatch suggested, it is in the public's interest to resolve this matter in a way that does not shut down the Napster service."

Hatch has publicly supported Napster previously. Napster provides an Internet site where software can be downloaded. The Napster software allows a user to search via the Internet for music selections that reside as files on other computers which are connected to the Internet. The Napster software can copy the located music files to the user's computer and can also "publish" any music files of the user to the Internet for others to locate and retrieve.

Aides to Senator Hatch have stated that the Senator uses Napster. He is also a published musician and has produced songs on at least two albums which are downloadable with Napster software. The Senator expressed the goal of maintaining copyrights for musicians while somehow allowing consumers to access desired content.

He reflected that, "After all, without artists, there is nothing to convey, and without the fans, there is no one to convey it to. I think keeping the focus on the artists and the audience can help the technologists and the copyright industries find a way for all to flourish. I hope this opportunity is taken before it is lost."


Prominent Senator Reveals Internet Agenda 15Feb01 T2
By John L. Micek: NewsFactor Network

NEWS ANALYSIS: Internet Music Will Still Play On Despite Napster's Uncertain Future
San Francisco Chronicle 18Feb01 T2
By Benny Evangelista, Chronicle Staff Writer

Utah Senator Wants Hearing On Napster Case
San Francisco Chronicle 15Feb01 T2
By Benny Evangelista, Chronicle Staff Writer


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