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A & M Records v. Napster, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
239 F.3d 1004 (2001)


Facts

A&M Records (A&M) (plaintiff) was engaged in the recording, distribution, and sale of copyrighted musical works. Napster (defendant) was a peer-to-peer file-sharing program that allowed users to make MP3 audio files available on the users’ own computers. Other Napster users could then download these files from the other users’ own computers. Specifically, Napster users could make exact copies of other users’ MP3 files and transfer the files between computers through the Internet. Napster did not upload any of the copyrighted material itself, but Napster did have the ability to block access to infringing users and remove infringing material. A&M sued Napster, alleging that Napster was a contributory and vicarious copyright infringer. The trial court found there was a likelihood that Napster was liable and granted a preliminary injunction preventing Napster from facilitating the transfer of A&M’s copyrighted music without permission. Napster appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Beezer, J.)

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