Napster Inc. has told a federal appeals court in San Francisco that recording companies suing it for copyright violations are seeking ``to kill or control a technology that is not theirs." The San Mateo software company made the statement in a final brief filed yesterday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court will hear arguments Oct. 2 on whether to uphold an injunction that would block Napster from enabling millions of users to share computer files of copyrighted music for free.

Napster says injunction would ``shut down Napster entirely." The appeals court has suspended the injunction until it rules on the case.

Napster lawyers say in the brief that the music sharing program has not diminished the value of the copyrights owned by the 18 recording companies that have sued it.

They say the case is really about whether the companies can use their control over music copyrights to prevent Napster from ``transforming the Internet in ways that might undermine their present chokehold on music promotion and distribution."

The recording companies said in their brief last week that Napster promotes ``massive infringement" of copyrights and ``is a business created to facilitate the anonymous theft of music."

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