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Napster filter cuts downloads by half

Far fewer tracks shared, copied, says researcher

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Napster's court-enforced attempt to prevent up to 135,000 songs from being shared using its software has dramatically cut the number of downloads from the service.

Since the company added filtering software to its servers, there have been 50 per cent fewer downloads from the network. The average number of files offered by each user has fallen from 172 to 71, according to Net research company Webnoize.

No one expected Napster's usage figures to remain unchanged after the filtering software was put in place - a significant dip was always on the cards. What's surprising, perhaps, is that it's not as deep as you might think, given how little material you'd expect to come from non-RIAA members.

So either Napster has always been used for more legitimately than the music industry would have us believe - or the various anti-filter utilities, like Aimster's now-zapped Pig Encoder, are hiding a good few copyright files which continue to be downloaded. ®

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