Equipment Failure Knocks Napster Offline

Technology achieved what the largest music companies have failed to do -- knock controversial music-sharing site Napster.com off the Web, at least for a few hours.

The controversial site has been down for at least two hours, due to "equipment failure," according to an official with a Napster Inc. public relations firm. The company is at work on a fix, and the site should be up within a few hours, the official said.

Napster is in the middle of a copyright infringement suit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA), representing the largest music companies. A date for the trial itself has yet to be set, but meanwhile a U.S. federal appeals court on Monday heard arguments from both sides in the case on the matter of an injunction barring the file-sharing music Web site from operating. The three-judge panel could take months to rule on whether Napster will have to shut down, however. In July, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel issued the injunction, ordering that the Napster Web site remove copyrighted material from music labels represented by RIAA. Until the appellate panel decides on the appeal to the injunction, or in the event that Napster loses the case, the company is free to operate -- technical problems and all.

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