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Napster to start screening copyrighted material


SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- As Napster fought for its very existence Friday, the online music giant revealed in court that it will start preventing users from downloading copyrighted material this weekend.

Attorney David Boies said a screen will be put into place that limits access to restricted artists, albums and songs, according to CNN's James Hattori.

The Recording Industry Association of America has provided a list of 6,500 of songs it believes have been downloaded illegally through the Napster online service.

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The two sides Friday were back in court, where a judge was expected to modify an injunction to essentially shut down the music file-sharing service.

The hearing before U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel was ordered by a federal appeals court last week. The three-judge panel upheld most of Patel's original injunction from last July, but ordered the judge to redraft it.

The appellate ruling was a victory for the recording industry, which claims the service violates copyright laws. The court said Patel must modify her injunction to require record labels to identify which copyrights are being violated.

That modification could be ordered as early as Friday.

Napster offered a settlement with the record industry last week that was swiftly rejected. Under the proposal, Napster would have provided guaranteed revenue of $1 billion to the major labels, songwriters and independent labels and artists over the next five years. Major labels would have received $150 million per year for a non-exclusive license, divided according to files transferred. Another $50 million per year would have been set aside for independent labels and artists to be paid out based on the volume of files transferred.

The model includes a basic membership plan for users that would cost as much as $5 per month with a limit on file transfers. A premium membership would cost as much as $10 and would offer unlimited file transfers.

The Internet service is going forward with the proposed fee-based system, which it says will be in place by summer.

Napster is one of the most widely used Web sites, with 57 million registered users.

The new proposed Napster, slated to launch this summer, also would have limitations of 128 kilobytes per second and lower for sharing files, which would hamper both the speed and quality of music being swapped. Users also would have to pay an additional fee to burn CDs and to transfer their music to portable devices.

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