RIAA Asks Napster to Use `Filter-In' System

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The Recording Industry Association of America criticized free music file sharing service Napster.com this week for employing an "archaic" file filtering system and asked that U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel take action.


The recording industry wants Napster to use a "filter-in" system, which could demolish the company's value to users.


Under a filter-in process, all files would be removed from the system. After that, "Napster would index and permit the distribution only of those musical works for which it has obtained authorization; no other works would be permitted on the Napster system," the RIAA said in a statement.


Napster, meanwhile, reported that it has already slashed in half the number of files available through its system. It said 30 percent of its staff is devoted to compliance with Patel's revised injunction ordering Napster to remove copyrighted songs.


The injunction, issued last month, ordered both companies to share responsibility for blocking files.


Napster has blocked access to 275,000 songs and more than 1.6 million unique file names. The total number of files available through the Napster index at any one time has dropped by 57 percent, from 370 million to 160 million, and the average number of files being shared by users has dropped by almost two-thirds, from 198 to 74.


A Napster spokeswoman said usage dropped off when the company began its filtering efforts, but she said overall use has remained steady. At peak hours, there are still 1.5 million unique users on the system at the same time.


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