A San Francisco judge ruled yesterday that Napster can not resume its music-file trading service until the company complies with court orders governing Napster's use of copyrighted songs, claims the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Napster suspended its music service last week while the company updated its databases to support a new monitoring technology designed to comply with restrictions set by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Restart restrictions Patel has now apparently ruled - during a "closed doors session" with representatives from both Napster and the RIAA - that the company may not restart its service until it shows that the software modifications will allow it to meet the court's restrictions. The court could not be reached immediately for comment.

Hilary Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the RIAA, said: "Judge Patel's decision today was inevitable given Napster's failure to comply with the court's order for so long."

Around the block The RIAA had argued that file-filtering techniques employed by Napster in the past failed to remove all songs covered by copyrights owned by the RIAA's members. Napster installed its new software in an effort to block protected songs more effectively.

Rosen added: "While we appreciate that Napster is attempting to migrate to a legitimate business model, its inability to prevent copyright infringement from occurring on its system has only hampered the development of the marketplace in which it now hopes to compete."

Napster representatives declined to comment on Patel's latest ruling Wednesday evening, saying they had not had enough time to study it.