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Six More Universities Refuse To Ban Napster

By Parker R. Conrad, Crimson Staff Writer

Six more universities announced Friday they would not block access to Napster on their computer networks, despite a request by an attorney for Metallica and Dr. Dre that they do so.

The decisions by Princeton, Georgia Tech, the University of Florida, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Berkley and the University of Michigan brings the total of schools officially refusing a request to block access to Napster to 10.

Four other schools--Harvard, Boston University, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania--have yet to announce their decisions regarding attorney Howard E. King's recent request that they block the service.

Harvard is expected to announce its decision about Napster on Wednesday.

Although three schools agreed to block access to Napster last spring when King added them to a lawsuit against the company, no schools have blocked the service as a result of King's most recent round of letters.

King has said that he will not immediately sue schools refusing to block the service and will instead try to informally convince them of their legal and moral obligation to do so.

The arguments over a university's legal obligations with respect to Napster hinge on provisions in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The act stipulates that Internet service providers (ISPs) have no legal responsibility for copyright violations on their network of which they are unaware.

However, once notified of a violation, they must take reasonable steps to correct it.

King argues that the use of Napster is itself sufficient evidence of copyright violations.

"I don't think there's any doubts that people know what Napster's used for, and how much it's used on college campuses," he said.

In their letters to King, the universities all say that Napster use itself is not sufficient evidence for them to take action under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and say they will only take action in the case of individual acts of piracy brought to their attention.

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