Napster still down

Blames database fixes

Napster's music sharing service remained unavailable this morning as the company struggles to implement the latest version of its software.

Napster shut its service down yesterday. It said the suspension was temporary pending upgrades to the company's music databases.

The shutdown follows the release of new Napster client code that not only implements the company's latest copyright protecting technology but deliberately breaks backward compatibility with earlier and unofficial versions of the software.

The database upgrades are designed to add the audio fingerprint technology Napster hopes to use to block the transfer of copyright material it is not authorised to allow to exist on its network.

Unfortunately, Napster seems to have also blocked material it is allowed to distribute. Hence the last-minute upgrades and the resulting shutdown.

To avoid further legal entanglements - the company has already been chastised by the US District Court for its tardiness in implementing a successful file-transfer blocking system - Napster seems to be implementing an inclusionary rather than exclusionary system.

Napster has not said when normal service will be resumed. ®

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