Some campuses block Napster from computers

Many fear liability if court rules against company

September 24, 2000|By BOSTON GLOBE

OAKLAND, Calif. - A survey of 50 U.S. colleges and universities found that 34 percent of campuses block access to Napster Inc.'s Web site on school computers.

Napster, a program written by Shawn Fanning, a former Northeastern University student, is distributed for free on the Internet by Napster Inc., a San Mateo, Calif., company that is currently under legal attack by the music industry, which charges copyright infringement.

The survey released in August by the Gartner Group in Stamford, Conn., found that many schools have objected to the use of Napster software because the program ties up computers for a nonacademic use. Many schools are also wary of the legal consequences of allowing the use of Napster on school computers.

"If the music industry wins its case against Napster, it's possible they will go after individual users and the institutions that give these users Internet access, including colleges and universities," said P.J. McNealy, senior analyst with the Gartner Group. "Legal liability is the monster lurking at the end of the hallway."

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