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In as long as it takes for Judge Patel to draft and submit the injunction, Napster will be offline. This will probably be Monday but may even be by the end of business today.

If it’s Monday, expect a banner weekend of downloading to start in earnest this evening.

On Monday I’ll try to dig up some comparative internet traffic reports.



Friday March 2 3:49 PM ET Napster Hearing Over, Judge to Draft Injunction

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A crucial court hearing on the future of Napster Inc. ended Friday, with the judge saying she would begin drafting an injunction, which could shut the popular song-swap service down for good over the issue of copyright infringement.

“The matter is submitted and I will issue some kind of preliminary injunction,” U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said after more than two hours of testimony from lawyers representing Napster and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Patel gave no hint on when her new injunction might be issued.

A federal appeals court last month backed Patel’s decision move against Napster, although it told her to amend the order to specify that record labels must identify which of their copyrights were being infringed. Industry analysts say even a modified injunction could pull the plug on Napster because the service is unable to differentiate between copyrighted and uncopyrighted material.

At Friday’s hearing, lawyers for Napster sought to persuade Patel to delay the injunction, saying the service was working on new technology which would effectively allow it to block users from accessing copyrighted material.

The RIAA, meanwhile, urged Patel to press ahead with a quick injunction, saying delay opens the door to more online music piracy.