Metallica, Dr. Dre file similar cases

The next shots in the copyright infringement battle between Internet file-sharing company Napster and RIAA will be heard in a San Francisco courtroom.

In a late Friday ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel denied Napster’s claims that it was a mere service provider and wasn’t liable for its users’ actions.

Citing a specific section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Napster had requested a summary judgment — asking the judge to decide the case based on the present facts.

“Napster just lost its last delaying tactic,” Recording Industry Assn. of America prexy & CEO Hilary Rosen said.

RIAA, which reps all the major record labels, maintains Napster’s service allowing individual users to easily trade MP3 sound files with one another creates a virtual haven for unauthorized duplication of copyrighted material. The industry org filed suit last December.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based Napster is facing similar suits from hard-rockers Metallica and rapper Dr. Dre.

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