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narrowly avoided a midnight shutdown after two Federal judges granted the online song-swapping service a temporary stay Friday afternoon.

The popular music site had faced a Friday midnight (PDT) deadline for shutting down after a lower court judge sided with the recording industry. The recording industry had claimed privately-held Napster allowed its users to violate copyrights by permitting them to download digital music from other users free of charge.

A two-judge panel of the

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Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

, however, on Friday granted the company a temporary stay, giving it until next month to file a brief and permitting the company to continue operating its site in the meantime, according to published reports.