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While Napster hopes to lure Microsoft into the sub-service business, the MPAA has begun sending legal notices to the ISPs of Gnutella users caught exchanging pirated movies.
SWAPPERIES ON LIFE SUPPORT
Napster Woos Microsoft, Gnutella Takes A Hit
Napster is currently in talks with Microsoft Corp. about building a secure, copyright-friendly system.

Should the talks be successful, Microsoft would supply Napster with secure, music-industry-endorsed software for song swapping. Meanwhile, the embattled netco, which still hopes to begin its fee-based service this summer, would bring Microsoft into the subscription-based music market, which is already populated by Yahoo, America Online and RealNetworks.

At the same time, Napster continues to scramble for ways to prevent piracy on its site before service use plummets even more. Cambridge, MA-based research firm Webnoize reported that the average number of songs offered by Napster users plunged to 37 in April, from 220 in March, while the number of daily downloads from the service have dropped 40% since February.

Meanwhile, another file sharing program, Gnutella, may become the next swappery to be ousted from the Internet’s version of Survivor Island, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Motion Picture Association of America recently began sending out legal notices to the ISPs of Gnutella users caught exchanging pirated movies. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, ISPs are required to crack down on users found violating copyright laws.

Unlike Napster, Gnutella’s "peer to peer" service connects individual computers to one another directly, without the need for a central server. However, when operating the software, users reveal the IP numbers of their PCs, allowing anyone with a court subpoena to receive the user’s information from their ISP.

The RIAA has not yet taken action against Gnutella but reports that it is monitoring the service.

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