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Record industry hires music site executive

The Recording Industry Association of America, embroiled in a copyright battle against Napster, hires a top executive from a company that specializes in downloadable CDs.

The Recording Industry Association of America, embroiled in high-stakes copyright battles against Napster and other Web sites, has hired a top executive from a company that specializes in downloadable CDs.

Bruce Block, formerly chief technology officer for Musicmaker.com, will become the RIAA's senior vice president of technology and assist with "protecting the musical property rights of artists, songwriters, publishers and labels from unauthorized use of their materials," according to a statement by the trade group.

Block "is highly respected in the fields of technology and new media, and we are lucky to have someone with his expertise on our side," said RIAA chief executive Hilary Rosen.

New York-based Musicmaker allows customers to create and purchase customized CDs by selecting songs from an online library.

Before he was at Musicmaker, Block founded business-to-business e-commerce company SpaceWorks and an information-technology consulting firm.

Block joins the RIAA in the late stages of its lawsuit against Napster. The Court: Shut down Napster adversaries are preparing their opening arguments for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, where Napster is seeking to overturn an injunction from a lower court that threatens to shut down the company.

The RIAA represents the "Big Five" record companies--Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, BMG Entertainment and EMI Recorded Music.

The RIAA sued Napster in December 1999, beginning a controversial lawsuit that has garnered much media attention and turned the spotlight on file-sharing technology.