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Napster bans Manic Street Preachers swaps

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Manic Street Preachers have become the latest band to find their next, unreleased album cropping up on Napster.

And in response to legal threats from the Manics' label, Sony, the MP3 sharing software company blocked a number of users from the service for allegedly swapping said upcoming long-player, entitled Know Your Enemy.

Napster's response certainly seems rather more rapid than in previous demands for users to be exiled for alleged copyright infringement. But now it's working with Bertelsmann, the company is keen to be rather more friendly with the big labels than it has been in the past.

Bertelsmann bosses recently claimed that come July Napster will have song tracking and copyright management technology in place to ensure not only that labels receive appropriate royalties for shared songs, but that leaks like this one don't happen again.

The leak of the Manics' new album follows similar unauthorised releases of upcoming tracks by Madonna; the Spice Girls; Britain's most miserable band, Radiohead; the Smashing Pumpkins; the Offspring and... er... Spinal Tap.

Were we rather more cynical than we are, we'd suggest the leaks were intentional, aimed at drumming up interest and publicity in forthcoming releases, exposing into the bargain the blatant hypocrisy of anti-Napster record labels. But we're not, so we won't. ®

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