Judge: Napster Must Stay Down Until Filters Are Perfected

Service was already nine days into a self-imposed shutdown.

More than a year and a half after the recording industry sued Napster for copyright infringement, the judge in the case has finally ordered the service to shut down — except Napster has already done so on its own.

The service must continue its 9-day-old shutdown of all song transfers until it can prove that it's able to effectively block copyrighted songs, Judge Marilyn Patel ruled Wednesday (July 11).

Napster's nemesis, the Recording Industry Association of America, announced the ruling in a triumphant press release.

"Judge Patel's decision today ... was inevitable, given [Napster's] failure to comply with the court's order for so long," RIAA CEO Hilary Rosen said in the release. "While we appreciate that Napster is attempting to migrate to a legitimate business model, its inability to prevent copyright infringement from occurring on its system has only hampered the development of the marketplace in which it now hopes to compete."

A spokesperson for Napster did not immediately return a call for comment on Wednesday evening.

Napster began blocking all file transfers on its system on July 2. The company blamed problems in assembling the database needed for its new filtering method, which identifies songs by their musical content (see "No Telling When Napster Will Be Up Again").

For complete digital music coverage, check out the Digital Music Reports.