Napster faces the music

Renegade music webcaster Napster faces what could be its ultimate day in court - and its last day in business - on Friday, according to press reports.

A summary ruling in the case isn't likely, but U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in San Francisco could order an immediate implementation Friday of her prior injunction against Napster's music streaming operations. Following a Feb. 12 appeals court ruling that Napster was liable for copyright infringement, the three-judge panel that issued the ruling modified the injunction, requiring major record labels to specify the violations of their respective copyrights.

The record labels are prepared to present that information in court. And implementing that injunction - effectively shutting Napster down - is the next likely legal step. Failing some eleventh-hour deal with the record labels to keep itself viable as a subscription or pay-for-listen service, Napster days are nearly done.