Napster strives to obey injunction
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Napster Inc. said Monday it is doing its best to block all those copyright songs that once flowed freely on the company’s service, including tunes by the heavy metal band Metallica.
But what about songs by ”Metalllica,” or ”MMetallica,” or ”Etallicamay?”
Spelling tweaks such as those have infiltrated Napster’s new screening technology. Nonetheless, Napster CEO Hank Barry says his company is simply following the law as it tries to fend off a copyright infringement suit filed by the recording industry.
”I’m happy to say that I think Napster is complying with the injunction both in letter and in spirit,” Barry told reporters Monday in a conference call. But he downplayed the effectiveness of Napster’s new screening technology as a ”work in progress.”
Some songs are still slipping through the cracks, while other titles haven’t been submitted by the recording industry in a format that Napster can easily block, Barry said.
The Recording Industry Association of America, on behalf of its members, submitted 135,000 filenames on Friday that Napster was to block from its file-sharing service.
But as soon as the screening technology started making a dent in online song trading, crafty Napster users began misspelling band and song titles to circumvent the block. Other services popped up on the Internet with various solutions to the screening barrier, including several online Pig Latin translators that turn Britney Spears into ”Itneybray Earsspay.”
Barry said some 50 percent of the list presented to Napster by Sony was flawed and gave the Redwood City-based company no way to comply with the injunction.
Of 96,000 artist/title pairs given to Napster by Sony 46,000 contained no specific filenames to block, Barry said.
”In the database, they give us the artist and they give us the title and then the field where it’s supposed to say filename it says ‘null’ ” Barry said. ”So we think that that’s a clear violation of the terms of the injunction.”
A spokeswoman confirmed Monday the recording industry had sent song information and filenames to Napster.
”We have not seen they’re compliance plan,” said RIAA spokeswoman Amy Weiss. ”We have no reason to believe that they won’t comply with the court’s order.”
Napster was due to file documents in court late Monday detailing the company’s efforts to follow the injunction.
Barry also said Napster has held some discussions with Gracenote, a Berkeley-based company that provides an online database of millions of song titles and artists. Gracenote, formerly know as CDDB.com, could offer a comprehensive way for Napster to track those that major record labels seek to remove from the song-sharing service.
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