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Music-download site EMusic.com (EMUS) has announced that last Tuesday it started policing the controversial Napster music-swapping community for songs it has licensed. EMusic is using software that identifies the “acoustic fingerprinting” of music files compressed in the popular MP3 format. It said it will ask Napster to block the accounts of customers who are identified by the software as offering EMusic’s licensed material. Napster, which allows its users to swap songs with each other for free, is being sued by the music industry for copyright infringement. “We’ll find all versions of our songs on Napster,” Gene Hoffman, the president and CEO of EMusic, said in a conference call. “If you have a copy of one of our songs posted, we will find it.” The development underscores the bitter fight in online music, wherein the recording industry has accused companies such as Napster of infringing on copyrights, even as they eye the startup’s technology. Just three weeks ago, German media giant Bertelsmann, which owns record label BMG, signed a broad pact with Napster to develop a secure song-swapping environment. EMusic, which offers 140,000 licensed MP3s for download, said it took the action after talks with Napster broke down. EMusic will give infringing users a 24-hour grace period after notification to remove the music. If the users fail to comply, EMusic will notify Napster and request that their accounts be disabled. Napster acknowledged that it had discussions with EMusic but was concerned about the legality of the company’s approach. Napster also questioned the technology that EMusic is employing. Hank Barry, Napster’s CEO, also questioned whether EMusic’s approach would constitute an invasion of Napster users’ privacy, and said Napster would watch EMusic’s monitoring. “We will be reviewing EMusic’s interaction with the Napster system to determine whether it is consistent with Napster’s privacy policy,” he said in a statement. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: Napster Won’t Remain the Same Napster Still Not Out of the Woods EMusic.com’s New Take on MP3s Copyright � 2000 The Industry Standard

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