A&M Records v. Napster

Decision Date12 February 2001
Docket NumberNos. 00-16401,00-16403,s. 00-16401
Citation239 F.3d 1004
Parties(9th Cir. 2001) A&M RECORDS, INC., a corporation; GEFFEN RECORDS, INC., a corporation; INTERSCOPE RECORDS; SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, INC.; MCA RECORDS, INC.; ATLANTIC RECORDING CORP.; ISLAND RECORDS, INC.; MOTOWN RECORD CO.; CAPITOL RECORDS, INC., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. NAPSTER, INC., Defendant-Appellant. JERRY LEIBER, individually and doing business as, JERRY LEIBER MUSIC; MIKE STOLLER and FRANK MUSIC CORP., on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. NAPSTER, INC., Defendant-Appellant
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

[Copyrighted Material Omitted] David Boies, Jonathan Schiller and Robert Silver, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, Armonk, New York, Laurence F. Pulgram, David L. Hayes, Daniel Johnson, Jr. and Darryl M. Woo, Fenwick & West, Palo Alto, California, for defendant-appellant.

Russell J. Frackman, George M. Borkowski, Jeffrey D. Goldman, Roy L. Shults and Peter B. Gelblum, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, Los Angeles, California;

Carey R. Ramos, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, New York, New York, for plaintiffs-appellees.

Hannah Bentley, San Anselmo, California, for amicus Casanova Records.

Andrew P. Bridges, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto, California, for amicus Digital Media Association.

Scott E. Bain, Wiley, Rein & Fielding, Washington, D.C., for amici Ad Hoc Copyright Coalition; Commercial Internet Exchange; Computer & Communications Industry Association; Information Technology Association of America; Netcoalition.com; United States Internet Industry Association, and United States Telecommunications Association.

Scott R. McIntosh, Civil Division, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for amicus United States.

Ann Brick, San Francisco, California, for amici American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Judith B. Jennison, Perkins Coie, San Francisco, California, for amicus Scour, Inc.

Ralph Oman, Dechert, Price & Rhoads, Washington, D.C., as amicus.

Christopher Tayback, Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, Oliver & Hedges, Los Angeles, California, for amicus National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

E. Edward Bruce, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C., for amicus Business Software Alliance.

Kevin T. Baine, Williams & Connolly, Washington, D.C., for amici Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., Software & Information Industry Association, American Film Marketing Association, Association of American Publishers, American Society of Media Photographers, Professional Photographers Association, Graphic Artists Guild, Interactive Digital Software Association, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Broadcast Music, Inc., Producers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, Inc., Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, Reed Elsevier, Inc., American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Songwriters Guild of America, and AmSong, Inc.; Joel M. Litvin, New York, New York, for amicus National Basketball Association.

Salvatore A. Romano, Seyfarth, Shaw, Washington, D.C., for amici National Association of Recording Merchandisers, Inc. and Video Software Dealers Association.

Erwin Chemerinsky, University of Southern California School of Law, Los Angeles, California, for amicus Law Professors Erwin Chemerinsky, Kenneth L. Karst, Steven Shiffrin, Rodney A. Smolla and Marcy Strauss.

Barry I. Slotnick, Richards & O'Neil, New York, New York, for amicus Association for Independent Music.

Morton David Goldberg, Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, New York, New York, for amici Alliance Entertainment Corp., Audible Inc., Blue Spike, Inc., The Clandestine Group, Inc., Digimarc Corporation, Digital Media on Demand, Inc., FullAudio Corporation, InterTrust Technologies Corporation, Oak Technology, Inc., Reciprocal, Inc., RioPort, Inc., RPK SecureMedia Inc., Verance Corporation, and VNU USA, Inc.

Richie T. Thomas, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, Washington, D.C., for amici Consumer Electronics Association, Digital Future Coalition, and Computer & Communications Industry Association.

Karen B. Tripp, Houston, Texas, for amici Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. and Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund.

Professor Jessica Litman, Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan; Professor Keith Aoki, University of Oregon School of Law; Professor Ann Bartow, University of South Carolina School of Law; Professor Dan Burk, University of Minnesota; Professor Julie Cohen, Georgetown University School of Law; Professors Christine Haight Farley and Peter Jaszi, Washington College of Law, American University; Professor Lydia Pallas Loren, Lewis and Clark College Northwestern School of Law; Professor Pamela Samuelson, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California Berkeley; Professor Shubha Ghosh, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Professors Paul J. Heald, Allen Post Professor of Law, L. Ray Patterson, Pope Brock Professor of Law, and Laura N. Gasaway, University of Georgia School of Law; Professor Michael Madison, University of Pittsburgh School of Law; Professor Ruth Okediji, University of Oklahoma Law School; Alfred C. Yen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Boston College Law School; Professor Diame Zimmerman, New York University School of Law, and Professor Dennis Karjala, Arizona State University College of Law, for amicus Copyright Law Professors.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Marilyn Hall Patel, Chief District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-00-00074-MHP D.C. No. CV-99-05183-MHP

Before: SCHROEDER, Chief Judge, BEEZER and PAEZ, Circuit Judges.

BEEZER, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiffs are engaged in the commercial recording, distribution and sale of copyrighted musical compositions and sound recordings. The complaint alleges that Napster, Inc. ("Napster") is a contributory and vicarious copyright infringer. On July 26, 2000, the district court granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The injunction was slightly modified by written opinion on August 10, 2000. A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 114 F. Supp. 2d 896 (N.D. Cal. 2000). The district court preliminarily enjoined Napster "from engaging in, or facilitating others in copying, downloading, uploading, transmitting, or distributing plaintiffs' copyrighted musical compositions and sound recordings, protected by either federal or state law, without express permission of the rights owner." Id. at 927. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(c) requires successful plaintiffs to post a bond for damages incurred by the enjoined party in the event that the injunction was wrongfully issued. The district court set bond in this case at $5 million.

We entered a temporary stay of the preliminary injunction pending resolution of this appeal. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1). We affirm in part, reverse in part and remand.


We have examined the papers submitted in support of and in response to the injunction application and it appears that Napster has designed and operates a system which permits the transmission and retention of sound recordings employing digital technology.

In 1987, the Moving Picture Experts Group set a standard file format for the storage of audio recordings in a digital format called MPEG-3, abbreviated as "MP3." Digital MP3 files are created through a process colloquially called "ripping." Ripping software allows a computer owner to copy an audio compact disk ("audio CD") directly onto a computer's hard drive by compressing the audio information on the CD into the MP3 format. The MP3's compressed format allows for rapid transmission of digital audio files from one computer to another by electronic mail or any other file transfer protocol.

Napster facilitates the transmission of MP3 files between and among its users. Through a process commonly called "peer-to-peer" file sharing, Napster allows its users to: (1) make MP3 music files stored on individual computer hard drives available for copying by other Napster users; (2) search for MP3 music files stored on other users' computers; and (3) transfer exact copies of the contents of other users' MP3 files from one computer to another via the Internet. These functions are made possible by Napster's Music Share software, available free of charge from Napster's Internet site, and Napster's network servers and server-side software. Napster provides technical support for the indexing and searching of MP3 files, as well as for its other functions, including a "chat room," where users can meet to discuss music, and a directory where participating artists can provide information about their music.

A. Accessing the System

In order to copy MP3 files through the Napster system, a user must first access Napster's Internet site and download 1 the MusicShare software to his individual computer. See http://www.Napster.com. Once the software is installed, the user can access the Napster system. A first-time user is required to register with the Napster system by creating a "user name" and password.

B. Listing Available Files

If a registered user wants to list available files stored in his computer's hard drive on Napster for others to access, he must first create a "user library" directory on his computer's hard drive. The user then saves his MP3 files in the library directory, using self-designated file names. He next must log into the Napster system using his user name and password. His Music Share software then searches his user library and verifies that the available files are properly formatted. If in the correct MP3 format, the...

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