Napster develops P2P copy protection

Too much too late?

Napster has announced a deal with digital rights management outfit - and Bertelsmann subsidiary - Digital World Services to use copy protection in P2P swapping, to inhibit burning MP3s to CDs, and so appease the savage army of recording industry lawyers arrayed on all fronts.

The embattled company says it's making "progress on the development of a key aspect of the technology necessary to implement a new, membership-based business model supported by the recording industry. The solution, which enables secure administration of transferred files within a peer to peer structure, has been in the works for several months", it announced.

"This solution is further evidence of the seriousness of our effort to reach an agreement with the record companies that will keep Napster running, reliable, and enjoyable," Napster Interim CEO Hank Barry said by way of a press release.

The announcement, if not the technology itself (which is a bit less than fully worked out), is timed to counterbalance an ominous announcement by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), touting its own version of a proper temporary injunction which it would like to see Napster slapped with, and which it has seen fit to urge upon district court Judge Marilyn Patel, who was ordered by the appellate court to re-write her original.

"In accordance with the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the plaintiffs in the Napster litigation have today submitted a modified preliminary injunction for the District Court's consideration," the RIAA chirps.

To help Judge Patel avoid humiliating herself again with a crappy injunction which Napster might challenge on appeal, the RIAA's version "is based on and generally tracks the specific conclusions of the Court of Appeals as applied to Napster", we are told.

Basically, the RIAA-approved injunction would require Napster to monitor its entire operation and somehow prevent copyright abuses. The Association has declined to make the text of this document public, because it "is not yet a public document".

A fair translation of that tautological drivel might read, 'because they don't wish to expose themselves to further ridicule in the press'.

An understandable ambition - not that it will do them much good. ®

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