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"Songbird gives music copyright holders a completely new insight into how Napster is using their music—and, if they want, to take steps to get it removed."
——IFPI Chairman and CEO Jay Berman
NEW SOFTWARE A BETTER FILTER FOR NAPSTER
Songbird Software Makes It Harder For Napster To Claim It Can’t Filter Songs
Global trade group International Federation of the Phonographic Industries unveiled new software to aid artists and record labels to quickly identify songs available on Napster, reports The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to approval by the IFPI, the Songbird software, which can identify songs regardless of how the filename is spelled, already has the backing of 10 organizations representing songwriters, artists and music publishers.

Although he wrote it to track down song files available through Napster, Songbird creator Travis Hill—a 20-year-old Internet entrepreneur from Provo, UT, who heads the company Media Enforcer LLC—expects that Songbird can soon be used with other peer-to-peer services. Hill claims that his software is more powerful than Napster’s own filtering software—perhaps even more powerful than the Internet itself!—in part because it can simultaneously tap into some 90 different Napster servers rather than only one open server.

In a demonstration at IFPI headquarters, Hill highlighted the difference between his software and the software used by Napster. Hill first searched for "Janet Jackson" using Napster’s filtering software and found no files. But looking at Napster files using a "variations" option on the Songbird software, he found 40 files listed under such names as "Anetj AcksonJ," sometimes with song titles slightly altered from the original.

"Songbird gives music copyright holders a completely new insight into how Napster is using their music—and, if they want, to take steps to get it removed," said Jay Berman, chairman and chief executive of IFPI. "Also, it’s named after a sweet Anne Murray song. Oh wait, that’s ‘Snowbird.’ Never mind."

The software is available through www.iapu.org.

Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Napster to remove copyright-infringing songs from its servers. To adhere to that order, Napster has employed several filtering strategies, including a new "audio fingerprint" software (hitsdailydouble.com, 4/20, 5/8). The record industry has, so far, been unsatisfied with Napster’s efforts at self-policing.

Napster had no immediate comment regarding Songbird, although Anne Murray’s "Snowbird" was easily found on the swappery under the various spellings Anne Murrey, Anne Muray, Ann Murey and Murry, Anne.

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