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"We're pleased that Napster is announcing more and more steps toward compliance with the injunction."
——RIAA spokesman Doug Curry
DO YOU HEAR WHAT THEY HEAR?
New Napster Filtering Technology Actually Listens To Songs, Taps Foot, Hums Along
Despite widespread reports of Napster’s impending demise, the online music file swapper has introduced software that can identify songs by sound, not just their names, the company said Monday (5/7).

According to a message posted on its website, Napster said this "sound fingerprinting" would help the company comply with a federal judge's order to block the free exchange of copyrighted songs.

The move is seen as a way to thwart users from bypassing other file-swapping restrictions, including the altering of file names.

To that end, Napster has licensed fingerprinting technology developed by Relatable to identify songs by the way they sound, regardless of audio format or common distortions. The move had been expected as Napster continues trying to adhere to a court-ordered mandate to block copyrighted songs from being freely exchanged.

"As the technology available for the identification and tracking of music files has evolved extremely rapidly over the past few months, Napster has quickly embraced it in order to better protect copyright holders and improve our users' experience," a message on Napster’s site read.

The RIAA, which represents the major labels who are currently embroiled in suit against Napster, said it was encouraged by the move. "We're pleased that Napster is announcing more and more steps toward compliance with the injunction," said RIAA spokesman Doug Curry. "The focus, however, should remain on a fully effective filtering mechanism, not on each step toward its creation. Just as our focus continues to be the complete and total obliteration of Napster! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!"

No word if the "listening" system has the power to distinguish the difference between songs by Pearl Jam and Creed.

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