Feeds

EMusic to track Napster music swaps

Not a big deal now, but is the way of the future digital music biz

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Internet music company EMusic has developed what it claims is a solution to the 'Napster problem' - the availability of unauthorised copies of songs on the MP3 sharing software companies' service.

EMusic's system monitors Napster traffic and if it detects one of the company's tracks - indicated by a watermark it is now stamping into all its downloads - sends a message to the user making the track(s) available. The message basically tells them to stop sharing the song or face being blocked by Napster.

Of course, the lynchpin here is Napster itself. It may well choose not to block the users at EMusic's request. Right now, the MP3 sharing company maintains its users are not infringing copyrights - it argues that by doing so without commercial motives, its users' actions are legal under US law. That said, if EMusic got stroppy and started firing off lawsuits, Napster might change its mind, as it did with Metallica.

In any case, there's nothing to stop alleged infringers logging on again under multiple user IDs. And it only applies to music offered by EMusic. The online distributor has some big names on its roster, but they all also offer music on CD, so there's nothing here to prevent discs being ripped and shared.

However, EMusic's system highlights one way music companies can monitor Napster usage and build up a record of their tracks' distribution for the purpose of collecting royalties. As such it provides an indication of the how music sharing systems, whether they're free to the user or subscription based may eventually work.

Once labels get out of their retail business model and into a rental or radio mind-set, you can imagine vast numbers of tracks being shared across Napster-style networks, all monitored by the labels who bill the sharing companies accordingly. That cost will be passed on to the user as a subscription fee, covered by advertising sales or both. Sharing services might even cut their costs by doing bulk distribution deals with specific labels. They might even bill downloading users directly on a 'buck a track' model.

In such a system, it makes no odds whether a track is legitimate or not - the labels and the artists still take their cut, the sharing companies have a viable business model, and users get access to all the music they want for little or no cost.

Once all this is ticking over nicely, everyone's happen and they'll all wonder why such a fuss was made over Napster back in 2000. ®

Related Stories

Full coverage: The Napster Controversy

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.