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If you use Napster, you're being watched
(IDG) -- Music-download site EMusic.com has announced that on Tuesday it started policing the controversial Napster music-swapping community for songs it has licensed.
EMusic is using software that identifies the "acoustic fingerprinting" of music files compressed in the popular MP3 format. It said it will ask Napster to block the accounts of customers who are identified by the software as offering EMusic's licensed material. Napster, which allows its users to swap songs with each other for free, is being sued by the music industry for copyright infringement.
"We'll find all versions of our songs on Napster," Gene Hoffman, the president and CEO of EMusic, said in a conference call. "If you have a copy of one of our songs posted, we will find it."
The development underscores the bitter fight in online music, wherein the recording industry has accused companies such as Napster of infringing on copyrights, even as they eye the startup's technology. Just three weeks ago, German media giant Bertelsmann, which owns record label BMG, signed a broad pact with Napster to develop a secure song-swapping environment.
EMusic, which offers 140,000 licensed MP3s for download, said it took the action after talks with Napster broke down.
EMusic will give infringing users a 24-hour grace period after notification to remove the music. If the users fail to comply, EMusic will notify Napster and request that their accounts be disabled.
Napster acknowledged that it had discussions with EMusic but was concerned about the legality of the company's approach. Napster also questioned the technology EMusic is employing.
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