NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Web software company Napster Inc. on Wednesday unveiled a version of its controversial online song-sharing service built for users with Apple Macintosh computers.|
The new service, which allows enthusiasts to exchange songs for free in the compact MP3 file format, is called Napster for the Mac. Like the PC versions of Napster, the Mac application allows users to search and browse for MP3 files from the computers of other Napster users who are online.
"Napster for the Mac provides the total Napster experience wrapped in a Mac-friendly user interface," said Napster founder Shawn Fanning in a statement.
The move comes as an appeals court continues to mull over allowing Napster's service to remain online before the company and the recording industry grapple later this year in a copyright infringement suit.
The company said Napster for the Mac is the first "official" version of the software for Mac users, some of whom had already been able to patch into Napster via other software. The same team developed the program that created Macster, an independent product purchased by Napster earlier this year.
Appeals court to give notice before ruling
Separately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, struggling to decide whether to shut Napster before the trial begins late this year, said it would give 24-hour notice to the public when it comes to a decision about the case.
The court will post a warning on its Web site and, one day later, the opinion will be posted. No indication was given of when the decision might be handed down.
A Napster spokeswoman said she had no knowledge of the court's intentions.
The music industry, represented by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has asked the appeals court justices to restore a lower court ban prohibiting Napster from allowing copyrighted songs to appear on its Web-based service, a move that would essentially shut the service down and unplug its 30 million users.
Privately held Napster, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., argues that it is simply a song-swapping service that has run afoul of recording industry attempts to maintain a "chokehold" on music distribution.
In July, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel in California slapped an injunction on the service, pending a trial in which the service was to be charged with copyright infringement.
Time Warner, a member of the RIAA and one of the world's leading music companies, is the parent of CNNfn.com