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Some major universities reject ban on Napster

(CNN) -- A handful of prominent universities have decided not to restrict access to Napster, rejecting a request from legal counsel for the rock band Metallica and rap star Dr. Dre.

The musical acts have sued Napster, arguing the company's Internet program violates the law by allowing the free transfer of copyrighted songs. Their attorney, Howard King, sent a letter two weeks ago asking that more than a dozen universities ban the site from their computer networks. Most said they would not, citing the need to ensure academic freedom.

"MIT has had a long history of providing its faculty, staff, and students with uncensored access to the Internet and its vast array of resources," wrote James Bruce, vice president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a letter to King.

"This policy is consistent with MIT's educational mission and our deeply held values of academic freedom."

  MESSAGE BOARD
 

King's letter, which set Friday as the deadline to respond, was poorly received by other schools as well. Stanford University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Princeton University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, among others, turned down his request for similar reasons.

"Stanford is unaware of any requirement that it invade and monitor specific usage by its faculty, students and staff of such online services and network access, and you have provided no authority for such a requirement," said William Abrams, an attorney representing the school.

School representatives said their institutions did not condone copyright infringement and would investigate and address specific instances of such illegal activity if made aware of them.

In April, King filed suit against Napster. Yale University, the University of Southern California and Indiana University were named as co-defendants. All three blocked network access to Napster at King's behest.

King expressed disappointment with the response this week from other universities.

"I thought it was morally, legally and ethically the right thing to do, given their supposed appreciation of intellectual property and intellectual property owners," he said.

The Record Industry Association of America, representing some of the world's largest record labels, has filed suit against Napster as well. Opening arguments in the case are scheduled in the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco on October 2.



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RELATED SITES:
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Yale University
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Recording Industry Association of America


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