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MySpace will use filtering software to block copyrighted music hosted without permission on members' pages, the site said. It will permanently delete the accounts of people who upload tunes a number of times.

MySpace will use the Gracenote audio identification technology to identify audio recordings uploaded by its members. Once identified, copyrighted music uploaded without permission will be blocked.

"MySpace is staunchly committed to protecting artists' rights – whether those artists are on major labels or are independent acts," said Chris DeWolfe, chief executive and co-founder of MySpace. "This is another important step we're taking to ensure artists control the content they create."

MySpace is owned by Fox Interactive, a division of News Corporation, the Rupert Murdoch-controlled global media company. "Consistent with MySpace's current policy, individuals who repeatedly attempt to upload unauthorized music will have their accounts permanently deleted," said the company's statement.

It is the latest example of major new web businesses bringing their sites into line with copyright law. Almost immediately after Google agreed to purchase YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock, the site deleted 30,000 videos at the request of a Japanese lobby group.

This week YouTube was in the process of taking down thousands more clips. US TV channel Comedy Central, which broadcasts YouTube favourite The Daily Show, asked for all clips of its programmes to be removed.

Gracenote's audio identification technology is already used by Apple's iTunes to identify songs imported from CD into the iTunes system. Gracenote last year purchased the audio identification technology developed by Phillips.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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