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Song-swapping service Napster has intentionally adopted an easy-to-defeat filtering system that leaves all of the copyrighted material it has been asked to block available to its users, the recording industry charged in court documents on Tuesday. Calling Napster’s system “the most porous filter available,” the big music companies asked a U.S. District Court to order the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup to build a more effective filter or limit the music available on its network to approved works. Every one of the 212 songs the recording industry included in its original complaint against Napster remains available for swapping, the industry charged in the report. The recording industry said 70 percent of 7,000 works that Napster says it has blocked were available by simply searching for the artist and song title. “Calling this type of filter effective is like calling an umbrella full of holes a hurricane shelter,” Hilary Rosen, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the Big Five recording groups and submitted the document to the court. She made the comments in a press release. The charges come in response to two compliance reports Napster has filed which detail its difficulty in satisfying a modified court injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel on March 5. Patel issued that injunction at the direction of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that Napster aids in the massive infringement of record labels’ copyrights. The two sides will meet in court April 10 to air their differences. The record companies also suggest that Napster abandon its text-based filter, which still misses misspellings of artist names, in favor of a more sophisticated filter that can analyze the contents of MP3 computer files, which Napster has helped popularize. Alternatively, if Napster can’t filter out songs, the startup should only include works that are authorized on its network, the record companies say. Napster CEO Hank Barry countered that his company is “aggressively complying” with the injunction. Napster reports blocking access to more than 275,000 songs and more than 1.6 million file names, reducing the number of files available for sharing by 57 percent. The company argues that the industry has shown a “meager effort” to correlate file names with correct music and artist titles, forcing its staff to spend more time checking the record company’s lists and inadvertently blocking the wrong material. “Not a single record company has provided us with one variant of any song name,” Barry said in a statement. Napster has asked the court to extend a 72-hour deadline to block songs after receiving a list from record companies. It also asked the court to order the record companies to compensate Napster for the time and expense of adding and then removing the wrong files to its filter and validating their list, and to instruct record companies to validate their data. The record companies, however, say they have undertaken the “gargantuan effort” of providing Napster with lists of 660,714 copyrighted works they own or control and 8,001,913 file names corresponding to 328,074 works. The variety of names that Napster users can attach to artists and songs explains part of the problem Napster faces in blocking music. Napster reports it has prevented users from renaming songs and artists in pig Latin as a method to escape the filter. But the filter still isn’t catching misspellings of artists and songs. A search for “Elvis Presley,” for instance, came up empty. But a search of “Hound Dog” found more than 100 files, including several with the misspelling “Elivs Presley.” Napster’s search function is smarter than its filter, the recording industry says. In her March 5 order, Patel acknowledged that blocking music on Napster is further challenged by the fact that files are only available for downloading when a user has logged on to Napster. That means different files show up at different times. As a result, Patel said relief dependent on plaintiffs’ identifying each specific infringing file would be “illusory.” Napster and the recording industry also have begun a battle over who is spending more money to comply with the injunction. Earlier this month, Napster reported its staff had spent more than 2,700 hours building its filtering system and estimated that its compliance team of 12 full-time employees will cost nearly $1 million. The recording industry, which sued Napster in December 1999, estimates that it has spent more than 2,400 hours on the case, and tens of thousands of dollars on a consulting firm to conduct automated searches of Napster. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: A Squeaky-Clean Napster? EMusic Chimes In on Napster Filter Napster’s Day of Reckoning Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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