Bytes The Dust | EW.com

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Bytes The Dust

Napster can't seem to catch a break

In another blow to Napster, a federal appeals court ruled Feb. 12 that the song-swapping site knowingly allowed its 58 million users to violate copyright laws. Despite plans for an appeal, Shawn Fanning’s controversial brainchild is likely to be unplugged – even before its planned relaunch this summer as a for-pay service in conjunction with new partner BMG. What’s an MP3 addict to do? Here’s a seven-step recovery program.

Noah Robischon

1 Admit you are powerless and binge, like the 1.6 million simultaneous users who began stockpiling MP3s before a shutdown that may come in weeks.

2 Believe in a power greater than yourself: the U.S. Congress. Says Fanning, ”Users writing their congressmen about these issues is really important.”

3 Consider boycotting anti-Napster musicians like Metallica and Eminem (it’s not like he needs the sales). For a list, visit screwmetallica.org/bandlist.htm.

4 Make amends. Fairtunes.com sends money directly to the musicians whose tracks you’ve downloaded. Fiona Apple, Tom Petty, and the Foo Fighters have all received payments, according to site creator Matt Goyer: ”A lot of them cash the checks but don’t acknowledge it.”

5 Seek a less-user-friendly clone like Napigator, MusicCity.com, or LimeWire.

6 Make peace. Steve Gottlieb, founder of TVT Records – the only label to settle its suit against Napster – proposes a legal moratorium: ”We should work together to make this the most potent legitimate force in music.”

7 Go back to actually buying CDs – you still remember how, right?