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PR Firm Bans Napster From Workplace

May 20, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A Chicago-based public relations firm has banned employees from using the Napster music-downloading program after it was discovered that 80 percent of one office’s Internet traffic was from music downloads.

Golin/Harris International, which has 13 offices in eight states and three countries, told its employees via e-mail Tuesday that Napster is off-limits because the program is sapping the company’s resources.

``I got concerned that if 80 percent was going to Napster, how much of the bandwidth was left for e-mail?″ said Barrett Buss, Golin/Harris vice president for information systems.

Napster, based in San Mateo, is a free program that allows online users to search each others’ computers and exchange music stored in the popular MP3 format, which is used to copy songs from CDs onto hard drives.

About 100 universities have enacted bans or restrictions on Napster because students were clogging high-speed Internet connections with MP3 transfers.

Dan Wool, a spokesman for Napster, said he had no information on other companies banning Napster, but said the ban likely had more to do with workers slacking off than with dwindling computer resources.

Napster currently faces numerous music copyright infringement lawsuits from the Recording Industry Association of America and artists such as Metallica and Dr. Dre, who say the program cheats them out of royalties.

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