Napster Suspends Service To Install Filters

Music downloading from Napster has been suspended, at least temporarily, while the file-swapping site installs filters in order to comply with a court order prohibiting the unauthorized exchange of copyrighted music.

“File transfers have been temporarily suspended while Napster upgrades the databases that support our new file identification technology,” said a message posted on Napster’s home page.

Because all previous versions of Napster software were disabled as part of the effort to comply with the injunction, Napster users are also being told to upgrade to version 2.0 beta 10.3 for Windows or version 1.0 beta 2 for the Mac.

“It will take some time for our new filtering technology to accurately identify files; so initially, the number of files available will drop,” the Napster site said. “As more users upgrade to the new versions and more files are identified, more music will become available through Napster.”

The New Way

The new technology is being installed to comply with U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel’s order requiring Napster to block copyrighted songs from being traded on its service. Judge Patel’s order was upheld by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22nd.

The latest version of Napster will use “digital fingerprint” technology, which compares the digital structure of the music to a database of music that the recording industry claims is copyrighted.

Although the filtering technology is necessary to keep Napster out of further litigation, it has caused the number of tunes available through the service to drop significantly.

Fade Out

Numbers released by Webnoize last week reveal that Napster users are now sharing an average of 1.5 songs a month, according to the report, compared to 220 songs during the month of February.

The number of users logging on to Napster is also falling. According to Webnoize, 320,000 users were logged on to the system June 27th, compared to an average of 1.57 million simultaneous users at Napster’s February peak in popularity.

“By further reducing the music available through the current service, Napster has provided another nail in the coffin of the service consumers originally loved,” Webnoize senior analyst Matt Bailey said. “With little music available now, users continue to drift away from Napster.”

Staying Alive

Napster is struggling to stay alive until it can transform itself into a legitimate fee-charging service. The Redwood City, California-based company has promised the music companies that it will have its subscription-based service by September.

To that end, Napster has signed agreements with a number of record companies and independent labels. Last week, it signed a worldwide licensing agreement with the UK’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) and the Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA).

The agreement authorizes Napster’s use of hundreds of thousands of tracks belonging to over 150 independent record labels in Europe. The organizations said the deal would help ensure the future of Napster’s file-sharing community.

Big Deal

In a separate deal announced in June, Napster will also be licensing technology and content from MusicNet, the subscription music service being launched by three major record labels and media provider RealNetworks.

Under the terms of that agreement, EMI, BMG Entertainment and Warner Music Group will allow their copyright-protected music to be delivered to Napster users — but only “at such time as Napster is operating in a legal, non-infringing manner, and has successfully deployed a technology that accurately tracks the identity of files on the service.”

16 Comments

  • the recording companies have killed Napster, or have they? What the recording companies

    don’t quite understand here is that Napster was not the one doing the trading here, they were the middleman

    so to speak. Napster was not the one changing the music into MP3s for people to download.

    The recording companies think that they have won here but they haven’t. I guess they never heard of FTP sites.

    I guess they never heard of the software that changes the CD formats into MP3s especially now

    with the software that eliminates the digital fingerprint they think they are hiding on their CDs.

    They think that they will stop the exchange of music between individuals but they are WRONG. They have just opened

    a BIG can of worms here and if they think they can stop it, they should rethink that.

    • I think it’s real lame that music artists went this far with the napster case. Artists should have been overly ecstatic with napster.

      Thousands of people that had access to a computer but didn’t have enough money to buy a single or a cd could listen to their favorite bands. Money-hungry musicians put up these lawsuits for attention and that is what they got. Now they are denying Little Timmy the music he loves, all so that they can earn another million.

      They basically closed down the world’s most-used program, for what? So that people wouldn’t steal their music. Come on! At least people were downloading their music.

      • Read your post again. People were stealing their music. Yes, Virginia, that is a problem. I believe it’s illegal.

        The part I hate is that they shut down Napster when they should have worked with Napster to build a better model for everyone. The artists *should* get paid for the songs I want to listen to. I just don’t necessarily want to purchase an entire CD just to get one song.

        • I AM very sorry you are so misinformed.

          A handful of musicians came out against Napster i.e. filesharing, but the vast majority were right there with us.

          Metallica was one group I know of that was against musicsharing.

          Pay attention to me now. I AM a recorded musician, so I know how this works.

          The Music Companies were mad because they own the copyrights and WAAAAaaaaa they were not making more money off the musicians & writers work & sweat.

          Most of the Real Musicians are real people just like you & I. They were flattered people were still interested in their music. They are the kind of people who understand there are “poor folk” that can’t buy everything they want.

          Rest assured, my friend, The Record Companies are to Blame.

          • For shame Metallica!! I think it’s time we banned the musicians who put an end to Napster. Metallica, you greedy bastards! I will never again listen to your music, I will never again buy one of your albums, and I will do everything in my power to get my friends to stop listening to your music!!!! You cut your own throats! So Bleed~!

          • Well, looks like the artists have won the battle or should I say the recording industry since they

            are the ones making all the money, not the artists, I know this to be true because I have friends in the music biz. Anyway, you may have won the battle but not the war. There are still many other resources to obtain music online. You will never stop them all and if you try, you will

            only drive it underground just like the software

            piracy (warez Sites) that goes online. Why not worry about this and all the illegal porn that is online instead of focusing on napster and mp3 trading? Put that one in your pipe and smoke it!

          • What if someone opened a restaurant and did not charge anyone for dinner? It becomes the most popular restaurant in town. Turns out it has been stealing all of its food from another company’s warehouse and all of its paper products from another company, and all of its electricity from another company and so on. Would we be outraged that the people who had their stuff taken decided to take legal action to stop the stealing? Thus and so with Napster, just because it was popular and cheap did not make it right!

          • Does it even matter? It doesn’t bother me one bit that Napster isn’t very good anymore. I agree that DLing the songs for free isn’t fair to the musicians, but the fact of the matter is, people are going to share it no matter what. Even before CDs people were making copies of tapes to share with friends and with the internet, people converted songs to files and sent them to each other. All napster did was bring millions of those people together to share their music. For those that don’t want to pay to listen to just one song off of a CD, that’s why they made CD singles. Annnnyways, I’m rambling and I use utilities that are much better than Napster ever was.

          • What utilities do you recommend? I’ve tried Gnutella but the downloads were S-L-O-W (on my 56k connection) and I couldn’t always find what I was looking for. Am willing to experiment a bit…

  • I will not be using Napster if there is a fee for the use.

    I pay a fee for my Internet provider, now they are forcing Napster to charge a fee, next they want to charge for e-mail.

    What next?

    I AM sorry I purchased a computer, I should have known that everyone would want money for nothing.

    I still say Napster is doing nothing that the radios haven’t been doing for years, I have taped a lot of music from the radio stations (for my listening pleasure). The whole thing is one word GREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Please explain the difference between recording songs from radio and napster again? I think we should ban all radio stations, cassette tapes, TV stations and VCRs. We don’t need those devil’s toys to corrupt our morals.

    For any dumb dumb who don’t know that was sarcasm, you really need a life.

  • It’s a damn shame that Napster’s been murdered.

    Paid subscription?? Sure – tell me I can find Etta James, Mills Bros., Inkspots, Bessy Smith, The Orioles, The Platters …. the list goes on. Not likely. Damn!

    Dave

  • I don’t see anything wrong with downloading songs on the napster, cause it is just like downloading songs on the aimster or other music things you can download songs on to, so if the napster has to go so would the other music downloaders too, so there is nothing wrong with the napster, thank you

  • If you download the new version it will hide MOST of the other songs that you previously downloaded. It will NOT allow you to play that music from within Napster.

    If you must download 10.3, MAKE SURE you have an earlier version of the software so that you can get your music returned to the “My Music” folder on Napster.

    On another matter, I do not understand why music which is not available anywhere else e.g. songs from the ’30s and ’40s, or music from fringe 1950s singers such as June Valli, have been removed.

    If this music were available, I would purchase it on CD or from services such as Napster, but apparently users in their 60s do not matter.

    I would appreciate additional comment.

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