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Penn yesterday became the latest on a long list of universities that have been dragged into the controversy surrounding the Internet music site Napster.<P> Attorneys for the heavy metal band Metallica and rap artist Dr. Dre sent a letter to University President Judith Rodin requesting that the University ban access through its Internet service to Napster. The artists have been vocal critics of Napster, a service that allows its users to share downloadable music files.<P> The University has been given until September 22 to respond to the request. University spokeswoman Phyllis Holtzman declined to comment on the letter as of last night.<P> The Recording Industry Association of America -- an organization representing major recording labels -- first filed a suit against Napster in December, charging the company with violating copyright laws.<P> The court issued an injunction over the summer ordering Napster to shut down until the suit was decided, but Napster successfully appealed the ruling. The suit is currently in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.<P> Earlier this year, a similar suit was filed by numerous record companies, and many Web sites similar to Napster have settled suits filed against them.<P> Penn is just one of many universities across the country to receive a letter from the musicians. However, the University of Southern California and Indiana and Yale universities were sued along with Napster when they failed to comply last spring with the requests of Metallica and Dr. Dre.<P> Howard King, attorney for the two artists, said that the lawsuit was filed because his clients "saw the universities as willing participants and enablers of Napster infringement."<P> In the cases of USC and Yale, King said, "There is an irony of having wonderful creative and dramatic arts programs... yet encouraging Napster use, which [if] left unchecked would deprive" students of a chance to make a living in the creative arts in the future.<P> The lawsuit against all three universities was dropped after they agreed to restrict their students' usage of Napster, but King warned that other suits could still be filed.<P> The attorney made it clear that the letter sent to Rodin was not intended as a threat, but a copy of the original Napster lawsuit and the suit filed against USC, Indiana and Yale were included with the letter.<P> In addition, the musicians' lawsuit against Napster includes a clause that reserves a place for universities to be added.<P> King explained that his clients are targeting universities in particular because they "are a hotbed of Napster usage," especially because colleges often "provide high-speed Internet connections."<P> King said only about 20 universities representing a broad geographical cross-section would be directly asked to address the Napster issue on their campuses.<P> He added that all his clients are asking for is a "full and fair discussion of the issue, with respect to the universities." And this goal can be pursued, he added, without suing 300 universities.<P> Harvard University received a similar letter from the musicians recently but has not officially responded. Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn said the school will not be intimidated by the possibility of a lawsuit.<P> "It's a matter of respect for freedom of speech and the Internet," Wrinn said. But, he added, Harvard will make its final decision based on "the merits of the issues involved."<P> David Millar, Penn's information security officer, said the use of Napster at the University has not interfered with the operation of the school's networks.<P> Millar pointed out, though, that improper use of copyrighted material is a violation not only of federal law but also of University policy, and that those caught violating the policy can be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.<P> "Some of our students feel they're living in a protected sanctuary," Millar said. "I'm not sure that people are aware that there are groups out there like the RIAA that are scanning the 'Net for copyright violations for artists they represent."<P>

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