Napster has signed a licensing deal with digital-fingerprinting technology company Relatable, taking another step in its efforts to comply with the court injunction ordering the file-swapping service

Napster has signed a licensing deal with digital-fingerprinting technology company Relatable, taking another step in its efforts to comply with the court injunction ordering the file-swapping service to block copyrighted material. Relatable will provide its fingerprint-generation and database-matching software, "TRM," to Napster, which will incorporate it into its filtering process.

Unlike other systems that assemble a database of "fingerprinted" music files from copyright-holders, Alexandria, Va.-based Relatable can generate a database from files housed on consumers' computer hard drives. Fingerprinted items in the database can be matched to files on Napster; if a file is not authorized to be swapped, it can be blocked.

Relatable CEO Pat Breslin says engineers from his company and Napster will immediately begin integrating the technology, but it is unknown when it will be up and running. Relatable technology will also be used upon the planned launch of Napster's subscription service on July 1.

"The real challenge will be the scalability of the technology," Breslin tells Billboard Bulletin, adding that there may be unforeseen problems as TRM is rolled out to millions of Napster users.

Since March 5, Napster has installed three filtering systems to block copyrighted material, but thousands of unauthorized tracks remain. On April 13, Napster met with a court-appointed technologist and the Recording Industry Association of America to find a compliance solution. Transcripts from the meeting were sealed.