Derrick Mathis, L.A.
In response to pleas for public support from MP3.com and Napster, Internet music users over the weekend swamped U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., with 70,000 E-mails urging tolerance, according to Reuters.
The E-mail strategy, mounted just days after the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on digital music piracy, was initiated by MP3.com and Napster as a way to counteract the music industry's campaign against the two companies.
According to the report, MP3.com sent an e-mail to members last Thursday, asking them to tell the senators that the companies' customers aren't breaking the law. A letter posted Friday on Napster's Web site from the company's CEO Hank Barry requested that its 20 million users let the senators know that their balanced views on copyright issues are appreciated by the Napster community.
Napster is being sued for copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association Of America. MP3.com has settled with two of the five majors in its copyright infringement battle with the RIAA.
Meanwhile, a group of Internet executives polled Monday at the Internet Summit in Los Angeles weighed in on Napster's future. According to the Hollywood Reporter, 68% of the audience predicted that the site has little chance of winning the lawsuits against it.
"In Prohibition, drinking was super popular," RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser said. "All of us have to find a way to make this thing that people want to do legal. Consumers will buy the legal stuff. We won't have people getting illegal downloads en masse any more than we have people drinking moonshine en masse anymore."