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A district court judge has appointed a mediator in the copyright violation case between


and the major record companies who filed an injunction against the online song-swapping service.

According to a report in the Feb. 26 issue of


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, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, who ruled last year that Napster violated copyright laws by allowing users to download songs for free from one another's computer hard drives, appointed former federal judge Eugene Lynch as a mediator in the case. The magazine reported that Lynch has held at least one session and has another one scheduled.

Last week, the

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

in San Francisco upheld Patel's ruling and sided with the record companies, agreeing that Napster users violate copyrights by downloading digital MP3 files without paying the copyright holders or artists.

The panel ruled that the record labels "have substantially and primarily prevailed on appeal," though the ruling won't be enforced immediately.

A few days later, Napster said it was developing the technology needed to implement a membership-based business model that it hoped the recording industry would support.