A federal judge has ordered Napster to halt the operations of its phenomenally popular song-sharing internet service, saying the upstart company was allowing copyrighted music to be copied illegally. The preliminary injunction, set to take effect on Friday, would effectively shut down the website, which has more than thirteen million users and has come to define the monumental conflict between the openness of the internet and intellectual property rights.
Shawn Fanning, the nineteen-year-old founder of Napster, had this to say late last night on the internet:
Shawn Fanning: “When I had the idea of building an internet community to help music fans find MP3s, I didn’t think we would be embroiled in a legal battle, but we are. And as you know, the recording industry has filed a suit to shut Napster down, to shut you down. Today there was an important hearing in court, and the judge ruled against us. We will keep fighting for Napster and for your right to share music over the internet.”
That was Shawn Fanning, who was speaking on, where else, but the internet, about his company, Napster.
Juan Soria was executed yesterday for the abduction and slaying of a Fort Worth teenager fifteen years ago. The execution by injection was the second this month in Texas and twenty-sixth this year. At least six executions are scheduled for August. Juan Soria spoke slowly and barely audibly for several minutes before his execution, mentioning Allah and love. He was eighteen at the time of the murder.
This news from Mississippi: State investigators and a nationally recognized pathologist said yesterday there was no foul play in the hanging death of a black teenager which had prompted accusations that he’d been lynched. The death of seventeen-year-old Raynard Johnson, who was found hanging from a pecan tree outside his rural home on June 16th, was self-inflicted, at least says Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner of New York City, who worked on inquiries into the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King. Mississippi state investigators “explored all rumors and exhausted all leads,” said Colonel Claiborne of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He went on to say, “Everything we’ve checked shows no evidence of foul play. There was no other person involved in the death of Raynard Johnson.”
Jesse Jackson and the Johnson family have maintained that the honor student was killed by racists, angry over his relationship with two white girls. Jackson has labeled the death a lynching and questioned the ability of authorities to investigate the death fairly.
Media and witnesses may view executions in their entirety, so says a federal judge in San Francisco, overturning California’s prison policy of allowing people to watch lethal injections only after the deadly chemicals begin flowing. The suit was filed in 1996 by news organizations challenging the state’s policy of keeping a curtain drawn in the death chamber while the prisoner is led in and strapped down and needles and tubes are inserted. The media groups claim those procedures are part of the execution process that should be visible to witnesses and argued that the state was effectively preventing the public from learning what happens in an execution.
Four news organizations have offered to pay for new DNA tests on evidence from an old Georgia murder case to determine whether the man executed for the crime was innocent. If the tests show Ellis Wayne Felker did not rape and kill teenager Evelyn Joy Ludlum in 1981, it would be the first time DNA evidence exonerated an American prisoner put to death. Felker was executed in 1996. He claimed he was innocent.
The Boston Globe, the Macon Telegraph, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and CBS News want the tests run on Ludlum’s and Felker’s hair, scrapings from under Ludlum’s fingernails, and hair found in Felker’s house. The district attorney in Houston County, Georgia, where the case was prosecuted, says he expects to approve the testing, though he calls it a total waste of time.
Prosecutors in Southern California plan to offer free DNA tests to some prisoners, even though the results might overturn convictions. The USA Today newspaper said in today’s editions that San Diego County prosecutors have been reviewing the cases of about 560 prisoners since June to determine whether DNA tests developed since their convictions, all prior to 1992, can be used to link biological evidence from a crime scene to someone other than the person convicted. It said the county plans to pay for tests in such cases at a cost of about $5,000 each and that it would the first program of such free tests in the nation.
Australia and New Zealand health ministers will consider firmer guidelines for labeling foods containing genetically modified organisms when they meet in Wellington tomorrow. At issue is whether food should be labeled as genetically modified if only minute traces of GMO material are present.