Napster Suspends Service

Napster has temporarily shuttered its file-swapping service while it attempts to retool its new filtering technology, Billboard Bulletin reports. The company suspended transfers between users early ye

Napster has temporarily shuttered its file-swapping service while it attempts to retool its new filtering technology, Billboard Bulletin reports. The company suspended transfers between users early yesterday (July 2), noting in a message on its home page that it needs to "upgrade the databases that support our new file-identification technology."

Napster recently launched a filtering system that identifies files via a mix of text recognition and acoustic fingerprints. However, sources say the company was experiencing problems with the fingerprinting database, and some unauthorized tracks were not screened out. The company last week launched an updated version of its software that incorporates the new filtering system; it also has disabled all previous incarnations of the software and is requiring users to upgrade to the more secure version.

Sources say the decision to suspend service was voluntary. No timeframe for reinstatement of file sharing has been disclosed. The move comes as Napster is gearing up to launch a pay version of the service later this year.

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