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TheEveningStar
13-03-04, 18:08
By Keith Girard, Billboard Editor-in-Chief

NEW YORK (Billboard) - The record industry's war against peer-to-peer file sharing has never been about the technology.

It's been about how the technology is being used to swap songs in violation of U.S. copyright laws.

Back in the day when Napster was the prevailing system, there was a clear connection between the illegal activity and the file-swapping service. That's because Napster operated a central server that housed the music files, making it complicit in the illegal activity.

Now songs are no longer housed on a central server. They remain on the computers of individual users. The file-sharing service merely provides a way to link up millions of computers on the Internet so that those users can share copyrighted songs.

To date, the services have successfully defended their operations in court by claiming that they have no way of controlling what gets shared over their networks. In effect, the technology has been redesigned to get around the prevailing federal law.

But just as file-sharing companies have used technology to avoid complicity, other technology companies have come up with their own software that now turns their defense on its head.

Leading the pack is a company called Audible Magic, which has been written up in the New York Times, among other publications.

The company has built a digital database of 4 million songs and has developed software that can recognize the digital audio files of those songs. In effect, such audio files are like fingerprints. Since no two songs are alike, no two audio files are the same.

Billboard sister company Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems uses a similar technology to detect radio airplay.

Using the software gives P2P services the ability to precisely identify music that is being traded over its network by comparing their audio files against the database of copyrighted songs. With that capability, it's a snap to block illegal file swapping.

The company and the Recording Industry Assn. of America have been making the rounds in Washington, D.C., to demonstrate the product, and some universities have already begun looking at it to curb illegal file sharing over their campus networks.

If Audible Magic works as well as its developers claim, it changes the P2P debate considerably. For their part, the file-sharing services asked the music industry and Audible Magic March 11 to make the software available for independent testing. That's a sound move.

But don't expect the services to adopt the technology if it proves to work as claimed. As one expert told the New York Times, "it destroys their business model."

Indeed, such file-swapping companies as Kazaa have built their business model on illegal file sharing. Take that away, and traffic would fall dramatically. The only way to make up that volume would be through legal music trading, perhaps based on a licensing deal.

It makes perfect sense. But don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

Reuters/Billboard/Yahoo.com

Draco
13-03-04, 18:15
Sounds good to me...

Duffman
14-03-04, 11:56
Originally posted by Draco:
Sounds good to me...i second that...

just dont take our freedom to share files/information/data - doing that would violate the ultimate internet business model... http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/privateeye.gif

NatEcho
14-03-04, 12:07
Give me a monthly fee or similar and I'll use it!

Cato
14-03-04, 13:19
Whoo-ho