Napster Filtering 115,000 Files

Napster CEO Hank Barry says the company is complying with the terms of the court-ordered injunction by blocking access to more than 115,000 file names from lists submitted by the record labels over th

Napster CEO Hank Barry says the company is complying with the terms of the court-ordered injunction by blocking access to more than 115,000 file names from lists submitted by the record labels over the past several months, Billboard Bulletin reports. Napster filed a compliance report yesterday (March 12) with the U.S. District Court, Barry says. He describes the company's filtering technology as a "work in progress" and says additional searching software will be added to remove songs that are misspelled or jumbled by users.

In addition, circumvention technologies have been detected -- such as one that converts file names to Pig Latin -- and for the most part have been disabled, Barry says. Napster also is talking to music-fingerprinting companies Gracenote and NetPD to incorporate additional filtering techniques.

Among the 135,000 titles that were delivered last Friday, Barry says that more than 46,000 Sony Music titles contained no file names, which would mean they did not meet the standard of the injunction. In addition, of 6,500 other titles submitted earlier, only two-thirds had file names, Barry says. Under the injunction, Napster has three business days to remove songs once the criteria have been met.

Barry, who expects Napster's efforts to be challenged by the labels, says he would welcome the input of a court-appointed "technical expert" as outlined in the injunction. "The labels are going to say that there's not system to effectively screen the material and their goal is to shut us down," he says.

Meanwhile, speaking in L.A., Bertelsmann chairman/CEO Thomas Middelhoff set a July 1 deadline for the launch of the new Napster and said if it did not meet deadline, it should be shut down. "We're trying to keep Napster alive from the transition to a legitimate business," he told a crowd of about 200 attendees. "And if we don't make it, then Napster should be closed."

In related news, in an effort to lure displaced Napster users, Emusic is offering free MP3 downloads through Sunday (March 18). Consumers can download an album or 15 singles without signing up for a subscription.

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